Fresh off the news that Kevin Hart is slated to host the 91st Academy Awards, the comedian, actor and producer is now at the center of controversy, and rightfully so.
Homophobic tweets from Hart resurfaced after Benjamin Lee, an editor at The Guardian, posted a screenshot with the caption, “I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets,” that also included screenshots of Hart's now-deleted tweets.
I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets ???????????? pic.twitter.com/ZbYG6SI3Xm
— Benjamin Lee (@benfraserlee) December 5, 2018
In Hart's tweets, which date back to 2011, the comedian's flagrant use of homophobic slurs is excessive. In one tweet, Hart expressed that he would break his daughter's dollhouse over his son's head in the event he saw his son playing with it. Lee wrote about unearthing Hart's tweets in the piece Oscars host Kevin Hart's homophobia is no laughing matter.
Many have also began to post clips from Hart's old stand-up specials.
In the 2010 special, Seriously Funny, Hart said: "One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!"
Adam B. Vary, a Senior Film Reporter at Buzzfeed, also shed light on Hart's history of homophobia, especially his use of terms "homo" and "gay," and they stopped after the special gained traction.
After seeing this @benfraserlee tweet, I did a search for every time Kevin Hart tweeted "fag," "homo," or "gay." It was…a lot. And he seems to have basically stopped tweeting those words after 2011 — i.e. the year his first stand-up movie became a hit. https://t.co/P8nTOilFgx pic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) December 5, 2018
All of this did not go without attention over the past several years. In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Hart was asked about his homophobic remarks and he said that he told the joke due to his own insecurities as a father. He said, “It’s about my fear. I’m thinking about what I did as a dad, did I do something wrong, and if I did, what was it? Not that I’m not gonna love my son or think about him any differently. 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. That’s the difference between bringing a joke across that’s well thought-out and saying something just to ruffle feathers.”
He stopped short of apologizing for the joke and said that he wouldn't tell the joke now. “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," he said.
Benjamin Lee's piece at the Guardian also notes that also in 2015, Hart said that he turned down a role in the 2008 film Tropic Thunder because the character was gay. Just as he did in the Rolling Stone interview, Hart somehow related it back to his insecurities. He told The Breakfast Club morning show, “I can’t [play a gay character] because I don’t think I’m really going to dive into that role 100 percent, because of the insecurities about myself trying to play that part. What I think people are going to think while I’m trying to do this is going to stop me from playing that part the way I’m supposed to.”
Hart's most recent film, Night School was released in September. The Academy Awards are set to air in February 2019.
UPDATE: Hart posted a video on Instagram addressing the controversy.
View this post on Instagram
Stop looking for reasons to be negative...Stop searching for reasons to be angry....I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people....there is nothing that you can do to change that...NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all....with that being said. 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. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love....Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please....What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY.....ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you....Have a beautiful day