Kevin Hart announced via his Instagram account on Tuesday that he will be hosting the 2019 Academy Awards in February. It will be the first time the “Ride Along” actor, 39, has hosted the awards.
“For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same,” Hart said in the post. “I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to. I am so happy to say that the days has finally come for me to host the Oscars.”
There’s been a bit of a hiccup in the manifestation of Hart’s dream, though, as he’s come under scrutiny for frantically deleting a series of intensely homophobic tweets from his Twitter account since the announcement. Erik Anderson, founder of Awards Watch, quickly criticized the selection of Hart as the host of the show and called him out for his controversial past.
“Considering how many of the Oscars’ biggest fans are women and gay men,” Anderson wrote on social media, “it’s quite something for the Academy to hire a guy who beat one wife, cheated on another when she was eight months pregnant and said one of his biggest fears is his son growing up and being gay.”
According to Indiewire.com, Hart admitted to cheating on and becoming violent in his two marriages. However, it’s his old homophobic tweets that are getting the most attention since the announcement.
Kevin Hart has Used Homophobic Material for Years
The series of homophobic tweets that have surfaced from Hart’s Twitter page are concerning, but they’re also nothing new. Most of them are from years ago–some even 2009–and he unabashedly included a homophobic joke in his 2010 comedy special “Seriously Funny”.
“One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay,” Hart said in the special. “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.”
Jonah Weiner, writer for the Rolling Stone who interviewed Hart in 2015, posted on Twitter about his interview with the star and the comments he made in defense of the “gay son” joke.
“When I profiled Kevin Hart in 2015 for [Rolling Stone],” Weiner wrote on his Twitter, “I brought up homophobia in the context of his ‘gay son’ joke — which he told me he wouldn’t tell now not because it’s ill-phrased but ‘because when I said it the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now.'”
Hart’s misunderstanding and dismissal of the damage these kinds of jokes cause is even more stark given the prevalence of queer films in this year’s Academy Awards, such as ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’, ‘Boy Erased’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, and ‘A Star is Born’ (which stars Lady Gaga, a gay icon and vocal opponent of LGBT+ hate).
Here are Some of the Tweets in Question
In an effort to protect himself from those same “sensitivities” that people have these days (which some would call “awareness”) Hart has been deleting off-color tweets from the past several years.
Here are a few samples:
Given all the hubbub, Hart might address all of this during his opening monologue. Let’s just hope he does so with a bit more self-awareness than he’s exhibited thus far.
Entertainer Korey Kuhl tweeted about the statements:
“so @KevinHart4real deleted the homophobic tweet I pointed out yesterday but there’s still 40+ left. do people make mistakes? yep! but the question remains: what’s he done to offset the negative impact these made? apologize? activism? philanthropy? anything? ? @TheAcademy”
Hart’s 2015 Statement Implies He Hasn’t Changed, Merely Censored Himself
It’s true that people can change, and many queer people themselves will admit that they said harmful things about what is now their identity before they were “out”. The concern lies in the fact that, though the latest of these homophobic tweets occurred in 2011, as recently as 2015 Hart didn’t rescind them when asked–he simply said that he wouldn’t say them nowadays because of the newfound “sensitivity” of his audiences.
Besides that, in response to all the criticism he’s been getting, Hart has neither addressed the issue nor apologized. As of yet, he’s only posted on Instagram calling people on the internet “angry”, and saying that he’s explained to his kids that people on the internet just like to be that way.
“I was asked the most amazing question from my kids today on the phone…they said ‘Dad why don’t you get mad when people talk about you on the internet’ …my answer was ‘I never see that stuff because I’m to busy being happy & loving you 2,'” Hart posted on Twitter and IG.
He continued, “I then explained to them that it’s hard to know what angry things people are saying when you stay away from the places that angry people love. I said angry people love the internet…so use it only when necessary and spend the rest of ur time enjoying life.”
It’s unclear how the Oscars will proceed with Hart as its host, though it’s unlikely that he’ll be dropped or replaced. Given all the criticism, though, a conversation about the importance of host ethics has been blowing up the internet.
Hopefully it’ll be a time of learning and growing and the Oscars will be able to go off without a hitch. The award show will air on Sunday, February 24th, 2019 at 12:30 pm EST.