Kevin Hart Says Backlash to Homophobic Jokes Was ‘Necessary and Needed’

Kevin Hart Says Backlash to Homophobic Jokes Was ‘Necessary and Needed’

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This weekend’s upcoming Oscars ceremony is a reminder of the time in 2018 when comedian Kevin Hart had to walk away from hosting duties after years-old homophobic comments in comedy routines and social media came to light. That included a bit from his breakout 2010 comedy special Seriously Funny, which began, “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind I’m not homophobic. I have nothing against gay people. Be happy, do what you wanna do. But me being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.” 

When the Academy and Hart were called on the carpet, he initially refused to back away from his earlier “jokes.” But after stepping down from the Oscars job, he put out a statement of repentance stating, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.” 

Hart now says that chaotic episode in his career was a “come-to-Jesus moment” in a Wall Street Journal interview. “Sometimes it’s okay to take a step back and to be educated,” he said. “I got a crash course. It was one that was necessary and needed."

“With the whole Oscars thing, there was a big gap between what I thought the problem was versus what the problem was,” Hart told Men’s Health in 2020. He resented being called homophobic, believing he was anything but. “I don’t care if you’re gay or not gay. I’m a people person. I’m going to love you regardless.”

But it took comedian friends to convince Hart that his hurt feelings weren’t the real issue — it was his refusal to condemn real violence directed at the subject of his jokes. “It wasn’t until close friends like Wanda Sykes, Lee Daniels, and Ellen (DeGeneres) talked to me and explained what they didn’t hear me say that I understood. Then I was like, ‘Oh, shit — I did fuck up.’”

As reported by PEOPLE, there’s no Oscar-hosting future for Hart, telling Andy Cohen that it’s “not going to happen.” Cohen expressed support for the comedian getting another chance at the Academy Awards, but Hart can’t see any scenario in which that turns out well. “There’s just no return of good,” the comic said. “What is it doing for me? There’s no upside at this point. That’s the only reason why.”

Back in 2018, Hart reasoned, the high-profile gig would have boosted his career. Years later, he believes “I’m far beyond and past that. I don’t need that at this point."


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