If you haven’t seen or heard, comedian Kevin Hart was asked to host the Oscars. It’s a big deal for an entertainer to get that gig, 25-30 million viewers big! After it was announced, some news outlets ran some stories about some homophobic tweets that Kevin did in 2009, 2010, and 2012.
The tweets are definitely insensitive. If you had an employee sending out those tweets, you would have a problem on your hands. Kevin is a comedian, and he truly believes he was being funny. He hasn’t sent tweets like that for the last five+ years.
The Academy asked Kevin to apologize. Kevin said he already apologized for those tweets and that is old business. The Academy said apologize or step down. He stepped down. He then went on Instagram and explained himself and why he wasn’t apologizing –
“I chose to pass, I passed on the apology. The reason why I passed is that 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.”
Hollywood Reporter did a poll of over 2200 adults and asked what they thought and here were some of the results:
- 42% of viewed Hart as favorable, 14% viewed the Academy as favorable. (the rest in the middle)
- 56 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “An old social media post does not represent the person who posted it and has no influence on my opinion of someone.”
- 44 percent agreed with the sentiment, “Social media posts are a form of expression and influence my opinion of someone regardless of how old the post is.”
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said of Hart’s stepping down, “Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness.” I agree with Ellis, I would have loved to see Kevin come on and use his humor and influence to show people who he truly is and what he stands for.
This is some real life stuff.
We have employees. We have friends. We have family. We ourselves have said things and posted things for any number of reasons that we might probably don’t stand behind, but it catches up to us and now someone makes to make a big deal about it. There is a ton of learning here. I love comedy! I can put what a comedian says in the context that it’s a joke and it might be 100% the opposite of what they truly believe.
There’s a big part about Comedy is about pushing the line of what we feel is acceptable. We hear someone say something on a comedy stage that you would never hear in public and shock and awkwardness makes you laugh, not necessarily because you believe the statement, but because of how ludicrous it is.
What Kevin Hart does on Twitter is very different from what we see from other non-comedians on social media. That’s a huge difference, but Kevin doing it makes some feel they can do it. Again, it’s been a long while since he’s done this, and I think the Academy was wrong in not standing behind Kevin and saying, “Kevin has addressed these past tweets and apologized in the past, we won’t ask him to do that again, the Kevin we know and love is a man of…” That’s all that had to happen, and all of this would have gone away.
I think he and the Academy missed an opportunity to speak about this on one of the largest stages around. To bring awareness to a subject that hurts many people. 14 and 15-year-old boys still use “gay” as a negative when joking candidly with their friends because they don’t hear from people like Kevin Hart saying that it’s not a negative. Finding ways to make jokes using negative phrases and turning them into positive phrases, and yes it can be done and it can be funny.
I do not think something you posted on social media should follow you around for years if you’ve addressed and apologized for it, but it does, and it will. The cost of education at every age is super expensive. Kevin found out how expensive it can be at a very high level.
What do you think?