Kevin Hart has stepped down as the Oscars 2019 host due to controversy over past comments about the LGBTQ community.
Shortly after Hart was named next year's host on Tuesday, tweets from 2009 through 2011 featuring homophobic language, along with seemingly offensive jokes made in old stand-up routines, resurfaced. Backlash ensued.
The Academy then gave him a choice: apologize for problematic rhetoric or lose his gig as the Oscars 2019 host.
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Yesterday, Hart explained in an Instagram video that he was "passing" on an apology because "I've addressed this several times. … I'm not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I've moved on and I'm in a completely different place in my life."
Did Kevin Hart, Oscars 2019 host pick, actually apologize before?
Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2015, Hart addressed a comment he made in a stand-up special, entitled "Seriously Funny," five years earlier. He said during the routine, "One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That's a fear. Keep in mind, I'm not homophobic. ... Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will."
Hart explained to Rolling Stone, "The funny thing within that joke is it's me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities. I panicked. It has nothing to do with him, it's about me. That's the difference between bringing a joke across that's well thought-out and saying something just to ruffle feathers."
"I wouldn't tell that joke today," he added, "because when I said it, the times weren't as sensitive as they are now. I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren't necessarily big deals because we can."
Kevin Hart announces he's dropping Oscars 2019 host gig
Early Friday morning, Hart announced that he was ultimately stepping down as the Oscars 2019 host.
"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's," Hart wrote. "....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," Hart continued in a second tweet. "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 steps down as Oscars 2019 host: LGBTQ community reacts on Twitter
It was interesting to sort through responses from people in the LGBTQ community. There were many sentiments of support.
"So sorry it went this way," one person wrote. "I'm a Gay man who believes your growth, apology and evolution are real and sincere. I guess the world needs to understand forgiveness and atonement better than it does. I am sorry you ended up holding the bag when there are real offenders out there..."
"Yes, after reading your vile hateful, unfunny LGBT tweets, I was PISSED you were chosen! BUT, I do think people can evolve," another wrote. "I accept UR apology & LOVE. This gay man thinks you can do more for us by keeping this job! Kevin, your team, @TheAcademy DISCUSS!"
"As a bisexual female, I appreciate your apology," a third posted. "I understand that you were joking and have no ill will towards LGBTQ community but there is still some truth in jokes. As you said, you want to bring people together and I think that this post will do that."
Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness took the opposite stance when adding his two cents:
Kevin Hart is a comedian, problem is he wasn’t joking about gay people. He’s long been problematic on LGBT comments and refuses to fully apologize & be an ally. If he has evolved so much an apology isn’t that hard. (1)— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) December 7, 2018
(2) Homophobia shouldn’t be rewarded, especially w so many queer comedians of color who could host the FUCK out of the oscars - or people of color who don’t make violent homophobic & AIDS jokes albeit years ago but can’t apologize w no qualifications when it’s brought up.— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) December 7, 2018
And, if you want to read a powerful thread full of compelling points, head over to Twitter user Charlotte Clymer's feed. Below are a few of her tweets:
I'll note that I like Kevin Hart. I think he would have killed as an Oscars host.— Charlotte Clymer?️? (@cmclymer) December 7, 2018
I'm also unwilling to prioritize that over the safety, dignity, and respect of LGBTQ people, and it's really damn sad that some pathetic folks can't seem to grasp this most basic of concepts.
The 91st Academy Awards air on Sunday, February 24. No word yet on who will replace Hart as the Oscars 2019 host, though we've reached out to the Academy for comment. Stay tuned.