• Kevin Hart withdraws from Oscars gig in impassioned Instagram video; apologizes to LGBTQ community

    Kevin Hart will not host the Oscars in 2019. The Night School star withdrew from the job mere days after being selected for the prestigious—but possibly least wanted—gig in all of Hollywood. Hart made the announcement on social media late Thursday night.

    The blockbuster comedian fell under intense scrutiny from the LGBTQ community after old tweets of his surfaced using homophobic slurs as well as more recent interviews addressing the tweets. In those interviews, he pointed to cultural sensitivity—not the material itself—as the reason he doesn’t do that kind of jokes anymore.

    In an Instagram video, he claimed to get a call from The Academy asking him to either apologize or be fired. “I passed,” he said. “I passed on the apology. The reason why I’ve passed is I’ve addressed this several times…I’ve said who I am now vs. who I was then…I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different space in my life.” The video currently has been viewed over 1.4 million times.

    Hart is what people in the industry would call a four-quadrant star. He appeals to men and women both old and young. He can dominate the box office in a PG or PG-13 comedy, and he is a component that can make an R-rated comedy a must-see instead of a ‘Netflix, later.’ Selecting him as an apolitical Oscars host seemed like a fantastic decision by the Academy. He even advocates for better pay for his female co-stars. But his attitude towards the LGBTQ community—specifically, it would seem, queer men—have dogged his past and now his present.

    Before stepping down from the Oscars, Hart posted an Instagram video blaming others for making the world “crazy.” He claimed he’s in “a great place, a great mature place where all I do is spread positivity.”

     

    View this post on Instagram

     

    Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry….I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people….there is nothing that you can do to change that…NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all….with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love….Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please….What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY…..ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you….Have a beautiful day

    A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

    This seemed to only ignite people on social media seeking some semblance of an apology from the box office darling.

    Tweets sent shortly after the Instagram video included that apology, though they do not address what the problem was with his past statements and jokes. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past…I’m sorry that I hurt people.”

    It is not easy to mess up in the public eye in front of millions and millions of followers. Most people will never know how hard it is to admit you were once wrong and then endlessly try to convince people you have changed, like a neverending trial where you repeatedly take the witness stand. Some argue that it is an undue burden on a celebrity to judge them on old behaviors—but then again, that’s the same defense Bill Cosby defenders use. The one benefit his post-withdrawal apology will have is that we can believe it to be genuine. It would have been much easier for Hart to apologize to save the job. It’s much harder to refuse to apologize to save the job…and then apologize from your heart.

    The mogul’s personal insecurities around potentially having a gay son are his own to deal with and, frankly, not the public’s business. Maybe we’ll get to hear how he struggled through that internal dialogue on stage one day. One thing is for sure: Kevin Hart is going to keep being Kevin Hart. He’s just not going to host the Oscars. And maybe that’s best for everyone involved.

     

    View this post on Instagram

     

    I know who I am & so do the people closest to me. #LiveLoveLaugh

    A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

    Billy Procida

    Laughspin editor-in-chief Billy Procida is a stand-up comedian in New York City. He hosts The Manwhore Podcast where he talks to women he's hooked up with about sex, dating, and why they didn't work out. Reach him on Twitter.

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