Kevin Hart’s old tweets resurface


Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons

Kevin Hart, Ride Along Red Carpet Premiere, Sydney Australia

Brianna Herder, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Kevin Hart, known for bringing smiles and laughter to the faces of many, had many people far from laughter when controversial comments from his past surfaced online shortly after the comedian agreed to host the infamous award show, better known as the Oscars. The show has been struggling to find a host after years of controversy stemming from racial tensions to horrifying blunders such as handing off the wrong envelope at the wrong time and consequently rewarding the wrong movie.

What was once seen as a prestigious event for actors and actresses, has slowly but surely lost the dominance it once asserted amongst the public. According to Access Hollywood, the 2015 installment of the award show, which was when the controversy involving the lack of diversity amongst the nominees broke, only garnered 37 million viewers, down from 2014 which accumulated almost 44 million. From 2015, viewership has dropped consistently. The 2018 show hosted by late night host Jimmy Kimmel, totaled 26.5 million viewers for the night.

When Hart announced he was stepping up to host the awards, many were ecstatic with the choice, citing Hart as a perfect fit. However, others voiced distaste for the comedian by resurfacing tweets and old jokes Hart made about 10 years ago. One joke in particular highlighted one of Hart’s “biggest fears” which he said involved his son “growing up and being gay.” He goes on to assure the audience in saying, “Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do.”

Due to the massive and swift amount of backlash he received, Hart took to Instagram to address the situation and those who he deemed as “trolls” that were calling him out on his homophobia. He revealed “The Academy” contacted him via phone call, and encouraged him to apologize, or else they would have to find another host.

Hart ultimately chose to “pass” on the opportunity saying, “I’ve spoken on it, said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it.”

In his apology via Twitter, Hart writes “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….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.”

After Hart’s resignation, he went onto Ellen Degeneres’ talk show to discuss the controversy. The episode, meant to air Jan. 7, was bumped up to Jan. 4 due to the urgency Degeneres felt the topic carried. On the show, Degeneres defended Hart and called on the Oscar’s to reinstate him as a host. On her Twitter page, Degeneres wrote, “I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances. And I believe in Kevin Hart.”

Degeneres herself is a member of the LGBT community, and helped spearhead the normalization of homosexuality in Hollywood when back in 1997 her character on her sitcom titled “Ellen” came out as gay. The move introduced Degeneres to a world of blacklistings, cancellations and questions from the outside world. Some argue that this makes Degeneres a qualified source being that she is gay, but many argued that Hart’s comments were more so directed towards black LGBT members, disqualifying Degeneres from the discussion.

On Jan. 9,  Hart sat down with Michael Strahan from “Good Morning America” where the topic of hosting the Oscars came up once again. Hart explained he was “done” apologizing and was ready to move on from the drama. He told Strahan, “I’m done with it. It gets no more energy from me.”

There has been no word of a replacement host for Hart since he stepped down. Many are speculating the show will go without a host much like it did in 1989. The 91st installment of the award show is set to air on Feb. 24 at 8:00 p.m. EST.