Billy Eichner responded to Nick Cannon's tweets about homophobic jokes, and it's absolutely perfect
After Kevin Hart was announced as Oscars host, his homophobic tweets resurfaced, creating a firestorm of controversy. The comedian consistently used anti-gay slurs between 2009 and 2011, which included saying someone's profile picture looks like "a gay billboard for AIDS." In addition, people were seriously offended by his 2010 comedy special Seriously Funny.
"One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay," stated Hart. "Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, do what you want to do, but me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will."
Initially, the Night School star responded with defiance. On Instagram, he claimed he had grown as a person, and already apologised for the offending material in the past. It's true that he addressed the issue in 2015. Hart told Rolling Stone he was attempting to mock his own insecurities with those jokes, and would not repeat them today because the climate is more sensitive. However, he did not say he was sorry.
His stubborn refusal to show contrition, then and now, sparked an enormous backlash. Finally, Hart announced he was stepping down as Oscars host and apologised to the LGBTQ community for his insensitive words.
Some people jumped to Hart's defence, claiming he was a victim of "mob justice," and political correctness had gone too far. Wild N' Out's Nick Cannon pointed out that other comedians used anti-gay slurs in the past, and face no current backlash. "This is what a f** bird likes like when he flexes," tweeted Chelsea Handler in 2012. "I dont mean this in a hateful way but the new bachelorette's a f*****," tweeted Sarah Silverman in 2010. "Enjoy skyfall f***. I'm bout to get knee deep in Helen Hunt #thesessions," tweeted Amy Schumer in 2012.
None of them were publicly shamed, or forced to step down from a high profile gig. Why excoriate Kevin Hart?
With America on the brink of Civil War 2, actor-comedian Billy Eichner waded in to make sense of it all. Normally you see the him screaming random questions at pedestrians on Billy On The Street. However, on Twitter, he offered a nuanced response to the squabble, and it's absolutely perfect. Eichner states he found Nick Cannon's response "compelling," and explains why Hart's homophobic jokes differ from Handler, Silverman and Schumer's tweets. He adds that he is no fan of "cancellation culture" and favours having meaningful conversations.
Here's Eichner's full response:
"People have been tweeting me for my thoughts on Nick Cannon’s tweets and the use of the F-word by the comedians he points out. I think Nick's point is a compelling one. I obviously do not and cannot speak for the entire LGBT community (obviously). But here’s my personal opinion: Just don’t use the word. It’s as simple as that. There are so many other words to use. Now, because I am a grown up and not a child, I do take context, nuance and *intention* into consideration.
"I think these are comedians who felt they can use that term because they have very large, dedicated gay male followings, myself included. They feel like they’re ‘one of us.’ So I think in some of these cases it was being used with what is *intended* as some sort of endearing, if irreverent, affection. And I do think there is a sizable difference between using this one word in this type of context and saying with some amount of gravity and truth that you’re going to smash a dollhouse over your child’s head if they exhibit stereotypically gay behavior.
"HOWEVER – that is an explanation, not an excuse. I agree that the best thing to do is to just not use the damn word! As a gay man, unless it’s perhaps a gay friend of mine saying it to me at a LIVELY BRUNCH, I don’t like hearing it. Even when I know it’s coming from an ally – and certainly when I know that it isn’t. It’s not a fun word for us to hear at this point. We’ve come too far. So maybe let’s just drop it. I’m not into censorship and I know some gay men may disagree but, like I said, there are so many other words to use.
"Finally, I want to say this. I don’t like that word but I also don’t like ‘cancellation’ culture. Like I said in my first tweet about the Kevin Hart situation, many of us, myself included, have made jokes/tweets in the past that we deeply regret. Kevin decided to quit on his own volition. He had his reasons and that’s obviously his prerogative. But I’m not into people being permanently ‘cancelled’ over something like this. To me, ‘cancellation’ is childish."
"I'm into conversation, not cancellation. I'm into owning up to past mistakes, acknowledging blindspots and hurtful remarks and talking through it, discussing it, learning, moving past it and making progress together. And with that, I would like to announce my candidacy for President of the United States. Just kidding. Thanks for reading this if you've made it this far. To be clear - I don't consider myself any type of moral authority whatsoever. This is just my personal take on it, since I'm gay and people were curious what I thought. Happy holidays to all. Peace on Earth."
The Academy has not announced a new Oscars host yet, and according to the latest reports, they're considering not having a host for the event at all. Well, how about Billy Eichner? I'd watch him roam around the audience with a mic and scream at celebrities. (Or thoughtfully respond to sensitive issues.)