CNN news anchor Don Lemon has called on Kevin Hart to become an LGBT+ ally so that he can help tackle homophobia – particularly in the African American community.
In the powerful segment on CNN, Lemon said that Hart’s apology for his past homophobic remarks – which resurfaced after he was selected as the host of the 2019 Oscars last month – had fallen flat.
Lemon said he had somehow “turned himself into a victim instead of acknowledging the real victims of violent and sometimes deadly homophobia.”
“Many of us really need to keep the conversation going. It’s life or death.”
– Don Lemon
He continued: “Kevin, if anything, this is the time to hear other people out. To understand why they might have been offended.
“Walking away right now, that is your choice. But many of us really need to keep the conversation going. It’s life or death.
“Someone like Kevin Hart, with one of the biggest megaphones in the world, can be a leader, the ultimate change agent. He can help change homophobia in the black community, something Kevin’s old Twitter jokes addressed but in the wrong way.”
Lemon was referencing a tweet posted by Kevin Hart in which he said that he would smash a doll’s house over his son’s head if he found him playing with one.
Don Lemon: ‘We need to speak up for young black people’
“That was a joke to Kevin, but the truth is that it’s a reality for many little boys in the United States. Somewhere, a black dad is beating his black son, the same way it happened to my friend, Oscar nominated director Lee Daniels, who – through his TV show Empire – portrayed how, as a little boy, his dad threw him in a trash can for wearing heels. Took him out of the house and threw him in the trash can.”
“Ellen doesn’t speak for the whole community.”
– Don Lemon
Lemon then referenced Hart’s appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and addressed the talk show host’s comments that Hart should host the Oscars.
“Ellen doesn’t speak for the whole community,” he continued. “We need to speak up for the young black people, especially young black men and kids in the LGBT community.”
Lemon finished by saying: “We need to talk about how people who may have messed up can become allies as well, because apologising and moving on does not make the world a better place for people who are gay or people who are transgender. Being an ally does.”
Kevin Hart: Ongoing controversy
The segment comes as the controversy surrounding Kevin Hart and the Oscars took on a new lease of life this week after the comedian spoke to Ellen DeGeneres about his dramatic fall from grace.
Last month, Kevin Hart was announced as the host of the 2019 Oscars. However, a series of homophobic tweets and remarks from past comedy shows were quickly unearthed, leading to outrage in the LGBT+ community.
Hart ultimately apologised for the remarks, and in the same series of tweets, announced that he was stepping down as host.
“Don’t let those people win. Host the Oscars.”
– Ellen DeGeneres
However, this week, Hart appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he insisted that he had previously apologised for his homophobic tweets.
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He also said that the timing of news reports around his homophobic tweets “wasn’t a coincidence,” but was instead a “malicious attack on my character.”
DeGeneres announced her support for Hart, saying: “Don’t let those people win. Host the Oscars.”
The iconic talk-show host then told Hart that she had even called the Academy and asked them to reconsider Hart’s role in the show.
She added: “I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances. And I believe in Kevin Hart.”
Ellen’s interview caused outrage among queer people of colour
Kevin Hart’s interview with Ellen DeGeneres did not go down well with some in the LGBT+ community, particularly LGBT+ people of colour.
Tre’Vell Anderson, entertainment director at Out , wrote in an opinion piece for the publication: “As a Black queer someone who, when my body began to manifest aspects of my identity—a sway in my walk, a bend in my wrist—was punched in the chest by Black men in my family, Ellen can’t and doesn’t speak for me.”
In the article, titled The Problem With Ellen DeGeneres’ Kevin Hart Interview, Anderson said that the interview with Hart should have instead been conducted by a queer person of colour, such as Robin Roberts or Don Lemon.
Journalist and activist George M Johnson also hit-out at DeGeneres for acting on behalf of the black LGBT+ community in a video on Twitter.
“Ellen this really wasn’t your place to offer forgiveness because you weren’t harmed in all of this, black LGBTQ people were harmed in this situation,” Johnson said.