Actor and comedian Kevin Hart announced on Friday he would back out of hosting the Academy Awards after homophobic tweets he posted several years ago surfaced.

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are the world’s most important annual film awards.

Hart, who starred in Ride Along and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, said he stepped down because he did not want to be a distraction during the event and he apologised to the LGBTQ community.

The 39-year old also said he had grown as a person since then and is now a different man.

“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past”.

“I’m sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again”, Kevin Hart tweeted.

Before he withdrew, Hart had previously said he did not want to apologise after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises Hollywood’s annual Oscar awards ceremony, asked him to.

In a video posted on Instagram, Hart had said he had grown since he posted the controversial tweets.

“The reason why I passed is I’ve addressed this several times… I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it, I’m not going to continue to go back, “ Hart said.

“We feed on Internet trolls and we reward them. I’m not going to do it. I’m going to stand my ground,” he added.

“Regardless Academy, I’m thankful for the opportunity. If it goes away, no harm, no foul”

In the tweets stemming from 2009 and 2011, Hart made several homophobic comments, including one in which he said he would not accept it if his son said he was gay.

“Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay,” Hart wrote in the tweet.

Another tweet read “Why does @wayne215 have so many pictures of me in his phone!!! What ru some type of FAT FAG that takes pic of small black men all day?”.

Hart used the homophobic language until 2011, the year he had his mainstream breakthrough.

The Academy announced Hart as the host of the 2019 Oscars on Tuesday but after the tweets surfaced a campaign was started by LGBTQ groups for the Academy to rescind the invitation to host.

The actor deleted some of the tweets, but refused to apologise, eventually leading to his stepping down as host.

The Oscars have attracted stinging criticism in recent years over a lack of diversity among nominees and winners, with critics arguing that the awards do not reward the accomplishments of women and people of colour enough.

After that controversy, which took on the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy pledged to double its membership of women and minorities by 2020.

Hart’s withdrawal is not the first time a Hollywood celebrity has had to step down over old tweets. Earlier this year, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was fired by Disney after several social media posts surfaced in which he joked about the 9/11 attacks, the Holocaust and rape.

Following his dismissal, Gunn said he had since “developed as a person” and apologised for his comments.

Source: Al Jazeera News


Idris Elba has won the title of People’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2018.

The actor, best known for his roles in The Wire, Luther, and Beasts of No Nation, made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon via satellite from London, in order to reveal his newly crowned status.

“I was like, ‘Come on, no way. Really?’” he told the magazine. “Looked in the mirror, I checked myself out. I was like, ‘Yeah, you are kind of sexy today.’ But to be honest, it was just a nice feeling. It was a nice surprise — an ego boost for sure.”

Elba returned to his role as Heimdall for this year’s Avengers: Infinity War and starred as Walter in Sky’s sitcom In the Long Run, while also making his directorial debut with Yardie. He also performs on the side under the name DJ Big Driis and has his own clothing line.

He’s set to star in the fifth series of Luther, alongside appearances in Hobbs and Shaw and Netflix’s Turn Up Charlie. He will also star as Macavity in the film adaptation of Cats.

The actor told People about his childhood growing up in East London, as the only child of Sierra Leonean and Ghanian parents. He said that his parents were strict and he was often picked on while attending an all-boys school despite his enthusiasm for sports including football, basketball, cricket, hockey and rugby.

“I was very tall and skinny,” said Elba. “And my name was Idrissa Akuna Elba, OK? I got picked on a little bit. But again, as soon as I could grow a moustache, I was the coolest kid on the block. Grew a moustache, had some muscles, bonkers.”

Past winners have included Dwayne Johnson, David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth, Adam Levine, Channing Tatum and Blake Shelton.



The Ugandan politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as pop star Bobi Wine, has detailed for the first time the beatings he says he received from security officers after his arrest last month.

In a lengthy statement posted on Facebook, Kyagulanyi wrote that he wanted to “set the record straight”.

The popular 36-year-old musician, who entered Uganda’s parliament as an independent MP in 2017, was arrested last month and charged with treason after some of his supporters allegedly stoned President Yoweri Museveni’s car.

“They beat me, punched me and kicked me with their boots. No part of my body was spared,” he said from the US where he is seeking medical treatment for injuries he says were sustained during his arrest and detention.

“They wrapped me in a thick piece of cloth and bundled me into a vehicle,” he wrote of his arrest in the north-western town of Arua. “Those guys did to me unspeakable things in that vehicle! They pulled my manhood and squeezed my testicles while punching me with objects I didn’t see,” Kyagulanyi said, adding the officers stole his wallet and phone before knocking him unconscious.

Kyagulanyi, who was charged with treason last week and released on bail, was re-arrested while trying to leave the country to seek medical treatment. He was subsequently allowed to depart.

The young MP has become a lightning rod for opposition to the long rule of the country’s 74-year-old president who critics say is out of touch with a youthful population.

His case has drawn international attention with scores of musicians, activists and politicians signing an open letter condemning his treatment by the government.

Monday’s 3,500-word Facebook post was Kyagulanyi’s first public statement since his arrest. “I was shocked on how they tried to downplay the atrocities committed by security agencies on innocent citizens,” he said.


Michael Jackson’s father Joe Jackson has died aged 89, just days after being hospitalized with stage four-pancreatic cancer.

Joe Jackson passed away on Wednesday at the age of 89. revealed last week that the King of Pop’s father was on his deathbed and later hospitalized as he battled stage four pancreatic cancer. 

Joe was being treated in Las Vegas as recently as last week, but TMZ reports that he passed away in Los Angeles at around 3:30am with his wife Katherine by his side.

It was later confirmed that he had in fact died while in hospice care in Las Vegas.

Jackson and his wife had been living apart for the past few years following a tumultuous 69-year relationship during which Jackson fathered a love child, had multiple affairs and was accused of abusing the couple’s children.

The music manager and father to 11 children, including pop superstar Michael and Janet Jackson, was being cared for in a hospital in Las Vegas. Jackson was said to be in the final stages of terminal cancer. He had previously suffered a stroke in São Paulo in 2015, along with a number of heart attacks. His grandson, Taj Jackson, confirmed the news on Twitter.

His fourth child, Jermaine, told the Daily Mail before Jackson’s death that his father had attempted to prevent visits from his family, withholding information about his location and diagnosis. They were permitted to see him on 19 June. “No one knew what was going on,” said Jackson. “We shouldn’t have to beg, plead and argue to see our own father, especially at a time like this. We have been hurting.”

On 24 June, Joe Jackson appeared to tweet from his personal account: “I have seen more sunsets than I have left to see. The sun rises when the time comes and whether you like it or not the sun sets when the time comes.” The tweet was accompanied by a photograph of Jackson looking at the horizon.

However, Paris Jackson, Michael’s daughter, tweeted her doubts that it had come from her grandfather: “This is a beautiful tweet. Though it upsets me to see whoever is in charge of this account taking advantage of it. My grandfather did not tweet this. I’m not sure if he’s ever used this account.”

Michael Jackson’s family has also released a statement:

“We are deeply saddened by Mr. Jackson’s passing and extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Katherine Jackson and the family,” said John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the estate. “Joe was a strong man who acknowledged his own imperfections and heroically delivered his sons and daughters from the steel mills of Gary, Indiana to worldwide pop superstardom.”

Joe Jackson’s legacy is the shaping and promotion of the Jackson 5, comprising his sons Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, and later Randy. The young family band from Gary, Indiana, became a phenomenon in the late 1960s and 70s, with their first four singles, I Want You Back in 1969, and ABC, The Love You Save and I’ll Be There in 1970, topping the Billboard charts.

But Jackson’s legacy is also one of cruelty. In 2003, he told the BBC that he whipped Michael as a child. In 2010, he told Oprah Winfrey that he beat his children with a strap and didn’t regret doing so. “It kept them out of jail and kept them right,” he said. In the 2003 ITV documentary Living With Michael Jackson, the singer told interviewer Martin Bashir that his father would oversee the Jackson 5’s intense rehearsals “with a belt in his hand” and “tear you up, really get you” if one of the brothers missed a step.

“I just remember hearing my mother scream, ‘Joe you’re gonna kill him, you’re gonna kill him, stop it,’” Michael recalled. “I was so fast he couldn’t catch me half the time, but when he would catch me, oh my god it was bad, it was really bad.” Michael also said his father would taunt him about his “fat nose”, and later told Winfrey he was so afraid of his father that he would sometimes vomit when he saw him. In 1979, Michael fired his father as his manager and took control of his career himself. The rest of the Jackson 5 followed suit in 1983.


Walt Disney’s Black Panther earned another $8.4 million in its eighth weekend of domestic release, dropping just 26% and snagging the 11th-biggest eighth weekend (sans inflation) and bringing its 52-day domestic cume to $665.4m.

It is now past the $659m lifetime gross of Titanic (again, sans inflation) and is now the third-biggest domestic earner of all time. And on this specific list, that’s where the journey will likely end.

No, I don’t see the Chadwick Boseman superhero movie finding another $95m and sneaking past the $760m domestic cume of Avatar and the once-in-a-lifetime $937m gross of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out of the question.

As mentioned yesterday, while it’s important to note higher ticket prices and various upcharges for PLF screens, D-Box, 3D and the like, the theatrical experience becomes less and less of a dominant entertainment option every year.

Yes, ticket prices are a lot higher than they were in 1998 or 1968, but there were a heck of a lot less distractions from the theatrical experience (DVD, YouTube, Hulu, etc.) than there are today.

That Black Panther has sold around 72 million tickets over seven weeks in a “Netflix-and-Chill” world an astonishing achievement, especially for a film that so explicitly bucks conventional wisdom about what makes a hit movie.

Black Panther is currently the 34th-biggest inflation-adjusted grosser. It has already sold more tickets than any Sony/Columbia/TriStar release, any Lionsgate/Summit flick and anything out of DreamWorks Animation. If it gets past The Dark Knight ($534 million in 2008/$684m adjusted), it will A) be the second-biggest comic book flick behind The Avengers ($623m in 2012/$706m adjusted) and B) have sold more tickets than any Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc. offering save for The Exorcist.

It’s it passes that arbitrary milestone, it’ll be the 30th-biggest “adjusted for inflation” grosser and T’Challa will be able to brag that he’s bigger than Batman and bigger than James Bond (sorry, Thunderball).

Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole’s action drama just missed the $1.3 billion worldwide mark, ending the frame with (eye-roll) $1.2999b. It is the 10th-biggest global grosser, between Frozen ($1.277b in 2013/2014) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($1.33b in 2017/2018).

It just might get past the last Star Wars film (if not the last Harry Potter flick, which earned $1.43b in 2011). Considering the inexplicably negative press that The Last Jedi got for “only” grossing $1.33b, it might not be in Disney’s interest for the Star Wars flick to be taken down a notch. Moreover, the higher Black Panther gets, the more Infinity War must gross to avoid negative press.

Yes, this is insane, but that’s where Disney is right now. Black Panther doing as well as it has further puts Star Wars on the defensive while in turn upping the expectations for Avengers: Infinity War to a greater degree than if the Boseman flick had “only” earned $800 million worldwide.

That’s not exactly a problem, but even if it is there are worse problems for a studio to have. On the plus side, it means a genuine whiff like A Wrinkle in Time, made with the best intentions and primed to become a future generational kid-friendly “classic” (think Hook or Labyrinth), doesn’t sting that much.


The Canadian rapper picked up 13 prizes, beating Adele by one, at the event in Las Vegas including best artist.

He was joined on the stage by Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and his father.

“I just want to say hold tight Adele because when a new ting drops you will crawl your way back to get the record back,” said Drake accepting the award.

Adele set the former record at the 2012 awards when she won prizes including top artist, top female artist and top pop artist.

Drake also won top male artist and top Billboard 200 album for Views after getting 22 nominations at the event as well as performing Gyalchester inside the famous Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.

Zayn Malik won best new artist but didn’t collect the prize in person, telling fans he was busy finishing new songs.

Twenty One Pilots picked up top duo/group and top rock artist with Metallica winning in the rock album category.

Beyonce’s Lemonade was picked as the best R&B album while The Chainsmokers won top dance/electronic artist and top Hot 100 Song for Closer featuring Halsey.

K-pop group BTS beat the likes of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to win the top social artist award.

The ceremony also saw Cher handed an icon award.

The star, who turned 71 the day before, said her success was “mostly luck” as she collected the honour from Gwen Stefani.

Audioslave and Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell was called a “true innovator” after his death last week.

Ahead of a moment’s silence, Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds paid tribute to Cornell as a “prolific songwriter, a legendary performer, a singer who had a voice for the ages and a philanthropist”.

Most of the categories were decided by song sales over the past year, streaming, radio airplay, touring and social media interactions as tracked by Billboard.

Halsey performed new single Now or Never on stage in an outfit which apparently took two days to make.

Celine Dion performed My Heart Will Go On to honour the 20th anniversary of the movie – Titanic.

There were also performances from Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, Lorde, The Chainsmokers, Camila Cabello, John Legend, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and country music stars Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt plus Selena Gomez songwriter Julia Michaels.

Meanwhile, Sean “Diddy” Combs celebrated Notorious B.I.G. on what would have been the hip-hop legend’s 45th birthday.

He was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1997.

The rapper’s son CJ Wallace told the audience: “I know my father’s looking down on all of us tonight.

“My sister and I will continue to carry on his memory with tremendous pride and live my life by his words.”

Vanessa Hudgens and Ludacris hosted the event.


Moonlight has won best picture at the Oscars – but only after Faye Dunaway initially said La La Land had won.

Warren Beatty was handed the previous winner’s envelope, containing a card saying “Emma Stone, La La Land”, resulting in the error.

The team from La La Land was in the middle of its acceptance speeches when the mistake was discovered.

Stone said backstage afterwards: “Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool! It’s going to be history.”

Musical La La Land won six Oscars including best director and best actress. Moonlight also won adapted screenplay and best supporting actor.

Damien Chazelle, director of La La Land, became the youngest filmmaker to win a best director Oscar at the age of 32.

Bonnie and Clyde stars Beatty and Dunaway announced La La Land had taken the best picture prize – but then the musical’s producer Jordan Horowitz announced there had been a mistake.

He said: “This is not a joke. Moonlight is best picture,” and showed the camera the card that revealed the winner.

Two La La Land producers had already given their acceptance speeches before the mistake was revealed.

Host Jimmy Kimmel joked that he knew he would mess up compering the ceremony, and added: “Personally I blame Steve Harvey for this,” referring to Harvey’s mistake in announcing the Miss Universe winner in 2015.

‘In my dreams’

Beatty had opened the envelope but hesitated to read out what it said in side, leaving it to Dunaway to announce La La Land.

He returned to the microphone to say: “I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said ‘Emma Stone, La La Land’, and that is why I took such a long look at Faye and at you.

“I wasn’t trying to be funny. This is Moonlight for best picture.”

The film’s director Barry Jenkins said: “Very clearly even in my dreams this can’t be true. But to hell with it because this is true. It’s true, its not fake.”

Paying tribute to the team behind La La Land for the way they handled the mistake, he said: “We have been on the road with these guys and it was so gracious and so generous of them.”

Emma Stone, who won the coveted best actress prize, said backstage.

“I’m so excited for Moonlight. Of course it was an amazing thing to hear La La Land and I would love to win best picture. But we are so excited for Moonlight. I think it is one of the best films of all time.

“Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool! It’s going to be history.”

She also said that she still had the envelope for best actress in her hand, although there are always two envelopes (one for back-up), which might explain why the mistake occurred.

La La Land also picked up best cinematography, best score and best original song for City of Stars.

It also won best production design.

Manchester by the Sea won two awards – one of them was for best original screenplay.

Acting winners

  • Viola Davis – best supporting actress, Fences
  • Mahershala Ali – best supporting actor, Moonlight
  • Emma Stone – best actress, La La Land
  • Casey Affleck – best actor, Manchester by the Sea

Davis, who had been nominated twice previously for Doubt and The Help, also thanked her “captain”, Washington.

Host Jimmy Kimmel put on a strong performance, with much of his patter unsurprisingly relating to the current US political climate.

In a reference to Donald Trump’s Twitter attack on Meryl Streep following her criticism of him at the Golden Globes, Kimmel joked that Streep was “uninspiring… mediocre… underwhelming and lacklustre”.

He asked the audience to give a round of applause for “the highly overrated Meryl Streep. Great dress, is that Ivanka?”

Kimmel also joked that Hollywood doesn’t discriminate – apart from “on age and weight”.

The first political speech of the night came from Alessandro Bertolazzi, one of the make-up and hairstyling winners for Suicide Squad, who said: “I’m an immigrant, I’m from Italy, this is for all the immigrants.”

Colleen Atwood won an impressive fourth Oscar for costume design for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, having won previously in 2011 for Alice in Wonderland, in 2006 for Memoirs of a Geisha and in 2003 for Chicago.

Kevin O’Connell finally picked up an Oscar after 21 nominations for Hacksaw Ridge. He was first nominated back in 1984 for Terms of Endearment.

The film also picked up best editing.

Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman was named best foreign film.

Farhadi chose to stay away from Sunday’s ceremony following President Trump’s attempt to ban travel from Iran and six other mainly Muslim countries.

Zootopia won best animation, beating films such as Kubo and the Two Strings and Moana.

Other winners included British film The White Helmets, which picked up best documentary short.

The US denied entry to 21-year-old Syrian Khaled Khatib behind the film because of problems with his documents.

The a 40-minute Netflix documentary follows volunteers who risk their lives to rescue civilians in Syria.


American Singer/Performer Beyonce has confirmed with a baby bump photo that she is pregnant–with twins.

The singer who already has a daughter-Blue Ivy with rapper husband-Jay Z made the shock announcement on Wednesday on Instagram.

She wrote: “We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. -The Carters,” she added.

Beyoncé is due to headline April’s Coachella festival. Assuming the announcement has come after the traditional 12-week pregnancy waiting period, she will be at least five and a half months pregnant when she takes to the stage.

Beyoncé and husband Jay Z’s daughter Blue Ivy was born in 2012. She revealed her pregnancy with Blue Ivy on the red carpet at the MTV music awards in 2011, before showing off her bump after a performance of Love on Top.

Beyoncé, 35, is due to make an appearance at the Grammy awards on 12 February, where she is nominated in nine categories for her Lemonade album last year, the most nominations of any artist this year.



Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have decided to fight for their marriage ‘for the sake of their kids’, North, 3, and one-year-old Saint, can reveal.

The couple’s four-year relationship has become the subject of intense speculation, after it was reported that Kardashian, 36, was considering a divorce from the rapper, 39.

But following a ‘heart-to-heart’ over the weekend, the pair have now decided to get counselling in an effort to mend their marriage, which was rocked by West’s breakdown last month.

A glum-looking West, who spent part of last week with President-Elect Donald Trump in New York, was pictured with his equally gloomy wife on Sunday night, leaving a Santa Monica restaurant.

However a source close to the couple insisted that, contrary to appearances, things have begun to improve. ‘They’re actually doing better,’ said the insider.

‘It was obviously a bit tough when everything [West’s psychotic breakdown] went down and it was confusing with the stuff going on. But they’re doing better now.’

Kardashian, who was left ‘conflicted’ over the future of her marriage following West’s hospitalization on November 21, now wants to give the relationship a  chance.

‘Kim is so in love with him and love can be blinding sometimes – she just adores him and the family loves him as well,’ said the friend of the couple’s.

‘It’s a situation that she’s giving another shot, a second chance. She feels he’s been under a lot of pressure, so she feels like he deserves another shot.’

‘They had a heart-to-heart about it and Kim is still deeply in love with him.’

Kardashian is also making her two children with West a priority and, having thought hard about her situation, has concluded that making the marriage work would be better for them.

The insider told ‘Despite the fact that logic tells her the best thing to do would be to move on, the other side of that is that she has children with him now.

‘Kim told me, “It’s not just about me, it’s about the kids”. So she wants to make it work. The only issue right now is he needs more time to recover and get better so she wants to wait and see how it goes.’




kanye-westKanye West is reportedly receiving treatment and was placed under assessment in hospital, just a day after cancelling his Life of Saint Pablo Tour.

The rapper scrapped a concert at The Forum in Inglewood, California on Sunday night at late notice, and on Monday his representatives announced his remaining dates had been axed.

It has been reported that Kanye is being treated for sleep deprivation and exhaustion, according to People magazine.

“He is exhausted and currently dealing with sleep deprivation,” a source told the magazine.

Reports suggest Los Angeles police responded to a medical welfare call at 1.20pm local time, and West was hospitalised for his own health and safety.

It is unclear if Kanye remains in hospital, however the rapper’s concert promoter, Live Nation, confirmed that the 39-year-old will not be performing the remaining dates of his Saint Pablo Tour.

Kanye’s friends fear the star is reportedly suffering from “nervous exhaustion” Mirror reports.