(Reuters) - Comedian Kevin Hart stepped down on Thursday from hosting the 2019 Oscar ceremony after \u201cinsensitive words\u201d about gays he tweeted in the past resurfaced online. The 39-year-old comedian and \u201cRide Along\u201d actor had announced on Tuesday that he would host the Academy Awards, the film industry\u2019s highest honors. \u201cI have made the choice to step down from hosting this year\u2019s Oscar\u2019s ... this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,\u201d Hart said in a tweet late on Thursday. \u201cI sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,\u201d he tweeted. In one of the old tweets, Hart described an actor\u2019s picture as a \u201cgay billboard for AIDS\u201d. In another he said if his son were playing with a doll\u2019s house, he would break it over his head and tell him to stop being gay. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, was not immediately available for comment. Chad Griffin, the president of the Washington DC-based LGBTQ advocacy group, The Human Rights Campaign, responded to Hart on Twitter late Thursday. \u201cYou have a rare opportunity to take responsibility, teach people in this moment, & send a message to LBGTQ youth that they matter & deserve dignity & respect,\u201d Griffin wrote. Hart, who also starred in the 2017 film \u201cJumanji: Welcome to the Jungle\u201d, would have followed talk show host Jimmy Kimmel who hosted the Oscars in 2018 and 2017. Hart, writing on his Instagram page this week, called the gig \u201cthe opportunity of a lifetime\u201d. \u201cI am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars,\u201d he said. The Academy responded on Twitter: \u201cWelcome to the family.\u201d FILE PHOTO: 2018 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals - Radio City Music Hall, New York, U.S., August 20, 2018. - Kevin Hart. REUTERS\/Andrew KellyHosting the Oscars is one of the most prestigious and difficult jobs in show business, navigating the expectations of the A-list audience in the theater and millions of people watching on television, with a combination of topical and insider jokes. Hart, who is African-American, would have been one of just a handful of black Oscar hosts over the past 90 years, including Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg and Sammy Davis Jr. Oscar nominations will be announced on Jan. 22, with the 2019 televised ceremony taking place in Hollywood on Feb. 24. Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Peter GraffOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.