Many people know and love comedian, actor and producer Kevin Hart for, well, making everyone laugh. He has starred in a ton of movies over the past few years. Hart’s credits include his most recent film, “Night School,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” “Central Intelligence,” “Ride Along,” “The Wedding Ringer” and “About Last Night.”
The point is Hart has been a huge presence in the film industry. Sure, none of them were nominated for an Oscar, but that didn’t mean the beloved comedian couldn’t host the Oscars, right? It turns out, however, that resurfaced homophobic tweets written over a decade ago will do the trick.
As you could imagine, I was super stoked when I found out Hart would be hosting the 2019 Oscars, and I was heartbroken when I learned just two days later that he would not host the 91st Academy Awards, as he had stepped down, announcing his resignation on social media.
In a tweet that Hart has recently deleted, he said, “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’.” Between 2009 and 2011, Hart had posted tweets that contained “derogatory language referring to gay people and made disparaging comments about sexuality.”
Hart’s resurfaced anti-gay tweets, plus comments the comedian made during stand-up routines almost 10 years ago, immediately created an uproar. An Instagram video that the now-disgraced entertainer made regarding the current situation certainly didn’t help matters and actually made things worse for him. In the video, Hart said, “My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago.’” He then went on to defend himself, saying, “Guys, I’m nearly 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify the past, do you. I’m the wrong guy, man.”
It shouldn’t be hard to believe that Hart’s video, which registered with people “as a defiant non-apology,” only dug a deeper hole for himself. Mere hours later, Hart posted another video saying that the Academy had given him a choice: “Apologize or we’ll find a new host.” Hart chose the latter, deciding not to issue an apology and instead step down, claiming that he “did not want to contribute to feeding the internet trolls.”
In his 2010 comedy special “Seriously Funny,” the comedian told audiences his biggest fear was that his son would come out as gay. Hart said, that “as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.” Hart addressed the same joke in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, in which he did not apologize, but said that he would not “make the same joke again because the times weren’t as ‘sensitive.'”
Hart has deleted some of the tweets making their internet rounds, but many in which the comedian called people “gay” or used a slur for gay men were still up as of Thursday evening. In one tweet, Hart referred to someone as a “fat faced f–.” In other tweets, Hart said, “I just saw the biggest gay guy ever!” and “This n—- looked like hulf(sic) hogan with heels on! I can’t lie I got scared!!!!!”
Hart continued to speak out, trying to save himself. Referring to his interview with Rolling Stone, he said, “The same energy that went into finding those old tweets could be the same energy put into finding the response to the questions that have been asked years after years after years.” While Hart attempted to distance himself from the very same tweets, the comedian stated emphatically that he would not apologize.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time Hart has had to address controversy over social media. In 2017, the comedian admitted that he had cheated on his pregnant wife, Eniko Parrish, “ahead of an extorsion plot.” Months later, the Los Angeles district attorney’s office charged Hart’s former friend with using video evidence of Hart’s affair to try and blackmail him.
If only Hart had issued a sincere apology — showing in some way that he had grown, matured and learned a valuable lesson after tweeting those hurtful jokes — he possibly could have been forgiven. Obviously, the comedian decided against it.
Although many fans may stop going to see his movies, a lot of black actors, comedians and musicians had Hart’s back, supporting him as best they could through social media. Nick Cannon said, “We with you regardless!!! You know we feel about people trying to control us anyway!!” Cedric the Entertainer put his good vibes into the universe with a simple, “Stand Up Kev,” and Damien Wayans wrote, “Much love & respect always, REGARDLESS.”
Even Jerry Seinfeld gave his two cents, asking, “who got screwed in that deal? I think Kevin’s going to be fine. But find another Kevin Hart, that’s not so easy. He’s a brilliant guy with a movie career.” Interestingly enough, Seinfeld skirted around Hart’s current tweeting controversy altogether; perhaps he has other opinions as well.
One thing is for sure, he could have simply apologized. Hart’s defense was that the tweets were from years ago. But it doesn’t matter how long ago something was said or posted — it still hurts. Instead of taking the high road by apologizing and saying something kind about the LGBTQ community, he stepped down from the role of Oscar host. Not apologizing didn’t help the comedian’s case one bit. I have to say, I’ve lost 97 percent of my respect for Hart, and I don’t know if the other 3 percent is enough to keep him in the game.