If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media in the past month, you’ve probably heard about the Kevin-Hart-Oscars-Situation. Essentially, after it was announced that Kevin Hart would be hosting the 2019 Oscars, some journalists noticed he deleted homophobic tweets he made back in 2009-2010. Tweets were not the only documentation of Hart’s homophobic past, he also included homophobic “jokes” about not wanting his son to be gay in one of his stand-up sets.
When all of this began to blow up in his face, the Oscars asked Hart to apologize, and if he didn’t they were going to replace him as host. Kevin Hart then refused to apologize, stating he already had and would not do it again, and then stepped down from hosting the Oscars. Before I unpack this whole mess, let me just say that I believe people can change. I want to see people change, and I think even those with the hardest of hearts can be different if they chose to be. I also think we should forgive people, if and when they make a sincere apology and show changed behavior. I do not believe this is the case with Kevin Hart.
Many journalists have looked for this elusive apology Hart claims to have made, but it has yet to be found. The fact that he was not willing to simply apologize and move on in the first place is very telling to me. The incredibly dismissive and defensive nature of Kevin Harts interviews since the backlash shows me, that not only is his half-assed apology, that only came after stepping down from the Oscars and continuing to receive backlash afterwards, is insincere but Hart also does not see the serious repercussions that the LGBTQIA+ community faces when people like him promote homophobia.
Ellen DeGenerous had Kevin Hart on her show for him to tell his story. On the show he did technically apologize, but not without excuses and continuing to bring up that he had already apologized. She then forgave him and said she believed he should still host the Oscars. Ellen does not speak for the whole community, she doesn’t even speak on behalf of all white lesbians, because I definitely disagree with her. On her show, he said he just wanted it all to go away and to stop being talked about. That only continues to show his lack of remorse. He also painted himself as victim, with a sob story to follow, feeling very much like he thinks the blow back from the LGBTQA+ community took the Oscars from him. When you are the perpetrator you don’t get to decide when the conversation is over.
CNN reporter Don Lemon did an amazing segment on this situation that I think everyone should watch, if you haven’t already. In a follow up, Lemon talks about how Kevin Hart has behaved in other “apology” interviews he has done. To be honest it blows my mind that Hart can’t give a genuine apology. Every single apology is followed with, “…but I didn’t say these things to ACTUAL gay people,” “… but the times were different,” “… but I already apologized,” “… anyone who refuses to accept my apology is a hater and that’s their problem.” He also said that “It’s not his life dream to be an LGBTQA+ ally” in response to Don Lemon suggesting he uses his platform to help end homophobia in the black community. Guess what Kevin? It’s not my life dream to constantly be bombarded with homophobia but here we are.
So, what’s the answer to this situation? I don’t need Kevin Hart to apologize again nor to I need him to be a champion for LGBTQA+ rights. We clearly aren’t going to get a better apology, and I can accept that. I hope we can see his apology through changed behavior instead. I also hope this sets a precedent to show that homophobia is not okay, and our community will hold you accountable for it. Honestly, at the end of the day this could have been a simple situation. One genuine apology would have changed everything. Homophobia comes in all different shades, every homophobic person is not holding a “I hate fags” sign, sometimes it comes out in jokes and comments. While this whole situation may seem silly to some, the reality of living as a minority teaches you even the most palatable bigotry and hate is deadly.