Kevin, Have a “Hart”

Eva Rinaldi

Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor

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The upcoming 2019 Oscars will go without a host for the first time in 30 years. Comedian Kevin Hart was initially set to host the awards show but gave up the role due to the controversy surrounding the resurfacing of homophobic tweets he made between 2009 and 2010. It is indeed unfair to continuously punish someone for past transgressions, especially if they’ve already apologized for their misdeeds. But Hart should have done more to show he was truly sorry for his harmful tweets.   

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences gave Hart the opportunity to remain as host if he issued a statement formally apologizing for his tweets. Hart refused, saying he had apologized in the past and wanted to move on. “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.”

It’s understandable that Hart wants to move on from his past mistakes and would be uncomfortable talking publicly about his homophobic tweets. We’re in a time where homophobia is becoming increasingly unacceptable.

Hosting the Oscars is a high profile position. By accepting the job, Hart would no longer just be representing himself but an organization that cannot be seen as being OK with his tweets in any capacity. He should have considered this before he refused to apologize.

It was silly of him to give up his dream job just because he didn’t want to swallow his pride. Especially when one considers he ended up apologizing in a subsequent statement he made regarding his stepping down from the job.  

Hart’s refusal to apologize shows he believes he has already done enough to recompense for his hurtful tweets. In reality, he could have done much more to make amends. He could have shown he now knows what he tweeted was wrong and that he wants to show support to the LGBTQ community.

Hart doesn’t need to become the LGBTQ community’s staunchest ally. But even donating to an organization in support of LGBTQ issues or using his voice as a famous actor and comedian to advocate for the community would have gone a long way in showing he was really remorseful.

That’s not to say Hart may not truly be sorry for his tweets. But many in the LGBTQ community must deal with similar or the same issues he espoused in his old tweets. He is in a position to help alleviate that in some way. That makes it his responsibility to do so if he is truly remorseful.

Hart must realize there are certain mistakes that, as a popular and influential person, he cannot just sweep under the rug. Even though they were in the past, his words can still have a negative impact because of who he is. As unfortunate as it may be, his homophobic fans or homophobic people in general could see these tweets and think it is acceptable because Kevin Hart said it.

That is why Hart cannot just rely on an apology he made years ago to solve this problem. He needs to show he now disagrees with what he tweeted, not only to help the LGBTQ community but so people cannot be obliged to use his words as a weapon against them. Hart’s tweets were a part of the problem so the only way for him to make up for that is to be apart of the solution.

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