This week, comedian Kevin Hart resigned as the host of the 2019 Academy Awards and apologized to the LGBTQ community after initially refusing to apologize for anti-gay jokes and slurs he made in 2010 and 2011. Since resigning, the LGBTQ media watchdog group GLAAD has since said they wished Hart hadn’t stepped down.
In a statement, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis wrote, “Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up…. 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.”
Earlier in the week, Ellis told CNN, “This wasn’t the conclusion I think everyone would have liked,” adding that GLAAD is still willing to speak with Hart.
If Hart had simply apologized for his anti-gay jokes, he could’ve kept the hosting gig. Instead, Hart began deleting his Twitter account’s anti-gay tweets which resurfaced shortly after the Oscars announced him as their 2019 host.
After seeing this @benfraserlee tweet, 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. https://t.co/P8nTOilFgx pic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) December 5, 2018
When asked to apologize by online commenters and the Academy Awards itself, Hart initially refused.
Instead, he posted two Instagram videos: In the caption of the first video, Hart wrote that he loves everybody and added, “You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE,” and “Stop looking for reasons to be negative.” In the second video, he flat out refused to apologize when asked by Academy Award organizers.
A few hours after the second video, Hart resigned, writing, “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.”
He added, “I’m sorry that I hurt people… I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
One of Hart’s old routines (below), he mentioned that he once knocked his son and another kid at a party down for having “a gay moment.”
When Rolling Stone asked Hart about his anti-gay schtick in 2015, Hart said, “I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now. I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals, because we can. These things become public spectacles. So why set yourself up for failure?”