Kevin Hart quits Oscars hosting gig after backlash over homophobic tweets
This week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that actor-comedian- hobbit Kevin Hart will host the 91st Oscars ceremony on February 24. Hart seemed like a good choice for the job, given his flourishing film career and his hilarious reactions to live animals on The Tonight Show. However, a bunch of his old homophobic tweets resurfaced, creating a controversy.
“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,’" read a 2011 tweet from Hart, which he deleted this week, according to BuzzFeed News. In a 2010 tweet he asked, "why does [Damien Dante Wayans’s] profile pic look like a gay bill board for AIDS. Booom, I’m on fire tonight." And in 2009, he tweeted, “Why does @wayne215 have so many pictures of me in his phone!!! What ru some type of FAT FAG that takes pic of small black men all day?"
Kevin also made some offensive jokes about homosexuality in his 2010 comedy special, Seriously Funny. "One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear," said 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."
It appears the quoted tweets aren’t anomalies. On Twitter, BuzzFeed writer Adam B. Vary stated, "I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted "fag," "homo," or "gay." It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 - i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit."
Hart responded to the furious backlash with a groggy black-and-white Instagram video, lying in bed shirtless. "I swear man, our world is becoming beyond crazy," he says. "I'm not going to let the craziness frustrate me or anger me especially when I worked hard to get to the mental space where I'm at now."
He continues, "My team calls me, 'Oh my God, Kevin, this world is upset about tweets you did years ago.' 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 a position where they always have to justify or 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."
In an accompanying message, he wrote, "Stop looking for reasons to be negative... Stop searching for reasons to be angry... I LOVE EVERYBODY.....ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that's on you."
Many people were offended Hart appeared to blow off the controversy, and didn't apologize for his homophobic tweets. Hours later, he posted another Instagram video, revealing the Academy gave him an ultimatum: apologize or they're finding someone else. He chose not to apologize, because he felt he already addressed the issue.
“I just got a call from the Academy and that call basically said, ‘Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we’re going to have to move on and find another host.’ I’m talking about the tweets from 2009 and 2010. I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it. 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."
Shortly after that video was released, Kevin officially stepped down as host, and apologized for his homophobic statements in the past. "I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's," wrote the 39--year-old comedian. "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."
Well, that was quite a brouhaha for an Oscars hosting gig, one of the least wanted jobs in Hollywood. The ratings plummet every year, the room full of pompous celebrities never laugh at the jokes, and the critics usually slam the host in scathing reviews the next day. You might have dodged a bullet, Kevin! The Academy now has about two months to find a new host. May I suggest Logan Paul? I believe his past is squeaky clean.