CNN host Don Lemon wants to give Kevin Hart a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the LGBT+ community.
Don Lemon was speaking on his show, late evening news/opinion programme CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, commenting on the news that the comedian, actor and producer has pulled out of hosting the Oscars after a series of homophobic tweets written between 2009 and 2012 resurfaced.
“Put the camera on me,” Lemon instructed, making sure he could look straight into the camera for his heartfelt appeal to Hart.
“Kevin. Call me. Let’s talk. Let’s make you an ally to the LGBTQ community,” Lemon said.
The journalist, who is openly gay and kissed his boyfriend on air on CNN’s New Year’s Eve show, continued: “I am a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t know you that well but I do know you a little and I believe that your heart could be in the right place and you could move to become a LGBTQ ally.”
Don Lemon invites Kevin Hart on his show
Lemon also invited Hart to come on his CNN programme to discuss it. “Call me. Let’s talk about this. Come on my show, come on the air and discuss this. I will give you a fair shot to talk about all of this and to have your say.”
“The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times.”
— Kevin Hart
Hart has so far not shown a particular desire to discuss his remarks. In his first reaction to the mounting controversy, Hart posted a video on Instagram in which he refused to keep revisiting what he said in the past and claimed he had changed, grown and evolved.
“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,” he wrote in a statement captioning the video.
But the video seemingly failed to impress the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, who gave him an ultimatum—apologise or lose the hosting gig.
Discussing the choice in a second Instagram video, Hart said: “I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because 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. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it. 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 place in my life.”
Kevin Hart’s previous comments on his jokes
“The funny thing within that joke is it’s me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities — I panicked. It has nothing to do with him, it’s about me,” he said.
He then added: “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?”
By Thursday evening, the comedian eventually gave the LGBT+ community the apology he was asked for, and also gave up on hosting the awards ceremony.