Kevin Hart attempts apology, laments ‘bullish’ LGBT community
Comedian Kevin Hart has once again addressed his past homophobic jokes, attempting to apologise to the LGBT community during his radio show Straight from the Hart—but ended up unravelling in a rant.
Hart advertised the radio show’s episode in a few posts on Twitter and Instagram on January 7, promising he’d be “talking about everything” later that evening.
The actor and comedian withdrew from hosting the Oscars in December after receiving criticism for past homophobic jokes made between 2009 and 2012 on social media and as part of his stand-up routine.
“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” he wrote in a tweet explaining his decision.
TV host Ellen DeGeneres, who was recently named the most admired LGBT+ person in the US, took his side, inviting him on her show last week to convince him, Americans and the Oscars committee that Hart should still fulfil his dream of hosting the awards ceremony.
“Kevin Hart apologises for his remarks that hurt members of the LGBTQ community. I apologise. I am now moving on from this because I’m just hoping the apology is accepted.”
— Kevin Hart
Various commentators, including CNN host Don Lemon, disagreed with Hart and DeGeneres’ assertion that he had adequately apologised for his past remarks. A Vulture investigation published on January 4 found several instances of Hart addressing the criticism he has received for the homophobic jokes throughout the years, but no clear apology until the moment he acknowledged he was “wrong” in making those jokes during his chat with DeGeneres.
“For Hart to couch his statements with insistence that his apologies already happened long ago in some easily Googled article or clip—and more, for DeGeneres to perpetuate that claim—shows that Hart has no intention of truly owning up to, and evolving from, his past mistakes,” the Vulture article read.
Kevin Hart explains homophobic joke
It took about 15 minutes into the hour-long episode, titled “Oscars controversy and gifts,” for Hart to introduce the main topic of discussion. He said he revised one of the jokes scrutinised for its homophobic content—the one from his 2010 stand up Seriously Funny.
Hart, who is accompanied on the show by his comedy crew Plastic Cup Boyz, argues that no one remembers the beginning of the joke, and they only focus the part where he tells his son to stop being gay.
He recited the beginning of the joke: “‘I want to say that I have no problem with gay people. I don’t have a homophobic bone in my body. I want you to be happy, be gay, be happy.’ And then I say as a heterosexual male, if I can do something to stop my son … that’s where the joke starts!”
He continued: “The only clip that I have seen all over the media is the one where I go, ‘Stop! That’s gay.’
The comedian failed to mention he repeated a version of that joke in a tweet dated 2011 that has since disappeared from his timeline (“Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay'”), instead switching to the topic of his previous handling of the criticism.
He said: “There’s the other part, right. Like, I really had to dive into the whole thing. Even the tweets. If you noticed, I didn’t even explain. I just apologised. I understand why people are hurt, I understand what these words mean, I’m sorry. I said it again. I wrote it. I said it. I know I did.
“These weren’t words that I said to gay individuals. I didn’t say these words to people, at the time, this was our dumb asses on Twitter going back and forth with each other.”
“We thought it was okay to talk like that, because that’s how we talked to one another. In that, you go, f**k! This is wrong now,” Hart said, implying there was a time where he thought it was ok to use that language.
He continued: “Now we’re in a space where I’m around people of the LGBTQ community, and I’m now aware of how these words make them feel, and why they say, ‘That shit hurt because of what I’ve been through.’
“So then we say, ‘Hey, man, as a group, let’s erase this shit, Hey, let’s not do this. We don’t post this shit on social media.'” Hart said, adding that realisation was also the reason he stopped including homophobic jokes in his stand-up shows.
Returning to the topic of his joke being criticised, he then appeared to suggest the backlash was misplaced.
“It’s so easy to look for the negative shit and I question. How many people have jumped on the bandwagon of the negative s**t have looked at the whole joke?”
Kevin Hart thinks the LGBT+ community has been ‘bullish’ towards him
Hart acknowledged once again that his use of homophobic slurs such as “gay” or “faggot” was wrong, before proceeding to scold the LGBT+ community for not accepting his apology.
He said: “I’m not debating right or wrong, I’ve already stated it’s wrong, there’s no question of what it was. But the other side of it is this.
“If the fight from the LGBTQ community is equality, that’s the fight. The fight is the will and want for equality. I’m riding with you guys. I understand you.
“But in the fight for equality, that means that there has to be an acceptance for change. If you don’t want to accept people for their change, then where are you trying to get to the equal part? Where does the equality part come in?”
Hart then addressed those who were not satisfied with his apology: “And then they break down the way things should be said now it turns into.. you are bullying. You are now trying to change me to become the version of me you want me to be.”
He continued: “I understand where the LGBTQ community is coming from. I understand what they want, but what I don’t understand is, when they get what they want, when they flipped on Ellen—how the f**k do you flip on Ellen? What is the end goal?”
Hart then referenced someone suggesting he dedicate a portion of his stand-up material to the LGBTQ community and “shine a light on the positive.”
Hart rejected the idea, saying: “I wish someone could shine a light on this community to see how bullish they become. You want me to be the face of this community because of this joke? This joke is now a representation of who I am?”
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He also rejected Lemon’s repeated invitation to become a LGBT+ ally, saying: “That’s not my life dream. That’s not my journey.”
Kevin Hart issues final declaration on the matter of homophobic jokes
To set the record clear once and for all, Hart summed it all up: “Once again. Kevin Hart apologises for his remarks that hurt members of the LGBTQ community. I apologise. I am now moving on from this because I’m just hoping the apology is accepted. If it’s chosen not to be accepted, I can’t control that.
“If your fight is for equality, then you need to understand that change is what helps that. You can’t get what you want without understanding and accepting that change. My 10 years have been an example of that change. So today I act as someone who is positively accepting that message. If you ignore that, I think your fight is not for equality.”
“I’m not homophobic, never have been, have no problems with any gay people in my life or outside,” he said. “I’m not talking about it any more.”