There are several ways Kevin Hart could have addressed the growing controversy over homophobic comments and tweets he made years ago. He could have issued a heartfelt apology, expressing that those jokes were in poor taste and he regrets them. He could have declared he’s grown and proved it by donating money to an LGBTQA+ charity. Instead, he took his shirt off and released a short video to Twitter in which he said he’s in love with himself, and the real problem is the haters.
Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry….I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people….there is nothing that you can do to change that…NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all….with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love….Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please….What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY…..ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you….Have a beautiful day
In the wake of his announcement that he’d be hosting the 90th Academy Awards, Hart’s come under fire for a slew of homophobic tweets. And so he’s deleted some. Because of that, we’ve screengrabbed his non-apology, and below we’ve transcribed the video.
In the video, Hart says:
I swear, man, our world is becoming beyond crazy. I’m not going to let the craziness frustrate me or anger me, especially when I work hard to get to the mental space that I am at now.
My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, the world is upset about tweets you did years ago. Oh my God.’
Guys, I’m almost 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 the position where they always want to justify and explain their past, then do you. I’m the wrong guy, man. I’m in a great place. A great mature place where all I do is spread positivity. If you’re not doing that, you’re not on my page.
Let’s break this down: Up until 2010, Hart made overtly homophobic jokes on Twitter and in his act, including a bit where he talked about knocking his son to the ground to stop a “gay moment.” When questioned about this last bit, Hart never apologized but said the joke was more about his own insecurities than anything. Here’s the video, so you can decide for yourself.
Regarding the above gay joke, Hart told Rolling Stone in 2015 that he stopped using it, because people have become too “sensitive,” noting, “I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals because we can. These things become public spectacles.” So basically, Hart had no remorse, he was just concerned about protecting his emerging stardom.
In the Instagram post, Hart tries to paint himself as the true victim of his homophobic remarks, because how dare we hold him accountable for his own words! He emphasizes the tweets happened “years ago.” And that’s true. However, his detractors aren’t only upset about the tweets, but also about Hart’s continued dismissive attitude toward what they connote: that gay people are a punchline.
He’s trying to frame this controversy as angry, negative people trying to take him down. But this isn’t about Hart. This is about the Oscars, one of the biggest stages—and thereby platforms—in the world of entertainment. What does it say that two years after Moonlight won Best Picture the Academy is welcoming an unapologetic homophobe onto that stage? What might Hart say there that could hurt untold LGBTQA+ people across the world? And even if Hart is on his very best behavior and somehow manages not to call someone a fag or “gay face”—insults he’s publicly slung on Twitter—what does it say to the marginalized LGBTQA+ people around the world that he’s been given a second chance without even recognizing he’s done anything wrong? I’ll tell you. It says we don’t matter as much as Hart’s ability to draw audiences to watch the show. Any dignity this event might endeavor to have will be sacrificed to the god of TV ratings if Hart keeps this gig.
Hart wants credit for redemption without doing a single thing to prove he’s changed his way of thinking. And for years, it was enough for him to just not tweet gay jokes. That Hart’s team has implored him to say something suggests the Academy might be spooked. Notably, in 2011, Bret Ratner was booted from producing the 84th Academy Awards after declaring during a Tower Heist Q&A, “Rehearsal’s for f*gs.” So will the Academy ignore the growing outcry when Hart has said far worse, and won’t even issue an apology?
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