After playing a whole lotta Drake and listening to snippets of my favorite Kevin Hart clips, the reality has set in that the tiny comedian with a very big personality is no longer hosting the Oscars. For what looked to be a much needed breath of fresh air is not going to happen since The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee unearthed homophobic tweets from 2009 and 2011. Hart, via Instagram, initially said he wasn’t going to apologize since he’s addressed the controversy. He later issued an apology and denounced himself as the next host. The rise and fall all took place over a two-day period.
The way I see it, the real problem is two-fold. As we move into a climate that’s more and more intolerant of bias and discriminatory words and actions against marginalized groups, the Oscars, which has become a 3-hour platform to voice those concerns, should seek to recognize a host that does just that. In The Academy’s constant battle to entertain and retain viewer attention, they opt for comedians who’s jobs are literally defined as offend everyone. Slippery slope much? The way I see it, The Academy made their bed and now they have to lie in it.
The second issue should be called is the apology. After Hart was asked by The Academy to apologize, he stated he already “addressed” his homophobic comments against the LGBTQ community in the past and wanted to leave it there; an apology would only serve to “reward” internet trolls, which I understand in theory. However, his previous “addressing” of the issue was merely an interview in which he recognized his wrong-doings, but never truly apologized. As a Black woman with a marginalized voice, I understand the community’s call for a sincere apology that shows true understanding of the issue. But now that everyone has it, we still have no Kevin Hart and I am bummed by the fact that I won’t see the bite-sized comedian issue side-splitting jokes on stiff Hollywood royalty.
Nonetheless, I think stepping down was a good call on Hart’s part. He has a career to protect. And as he tweeted, he did so as not “to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.” When Hart hosts the Oscars, he should be celebrated for his comedic talents that run from TV specials to sold out clubs, and blockbusters hits not his former sentiments.
While I have mixed emotions, I know there are others who are outraged, but I’d hope that this can salvage some of their emotions. I don’t think this is the last we will see of Hart and The Academy. If Mel Gibson, an Anti-Semitic-misogynistic-excuse-for-a-human-being, can be nominated for an award just last year, Hart’s mea culpa should be more than enough to host in years to come. Hart has sad before, hosting the Oscars “will happen when it’s suppose to.” That time is just not now.