Kevin Hart Ousted as 2019 Oscar Host
Less than two days after being named host of the 2019 Oscars ceremony, comedian Kevin Hart is forced to step down
12/8/18, 5:16 pm EST
By John Corry, photo from Variety
Comedian Kevin Hart has been ousted as the host of the 2019 Oscars.
Following years of declining ratings, the show’s producers have recently attempted to boost the show’s pull in several ways: expanding the best picture category from five to as many as ten (2018 and 2017 both had 9, and it’s fluctuated between 8, 9, and 10 since the new rule took effect in 2010; prior to 2010, every year had five best picture nominees, no more, no less), turning the awards show into a propaganda machine for the Democrats (okay, that was a troll), and even almost creating an entirely new category specifically for ‘popular movies’, as if there’s any real difference between what makes a good ‘popular’ movie and just a generally good movie (by the way: thanks for that, Marvel). As their most recent move: it was announced on Wednesday announced that they’re ditching 2017 and 2018 host Jimmy Kimmel for comedian Kevin Hart.
Kevin Hart is arguably the most popular comedian working today. He’s has been performing stand up for over 15 years and has been extremely successful, selling out clubs around the country and appearing in such commercially successful films like ‘Paper Soldiers’, ‘Get Hard’, and ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’.
Announcing the decision, here’s what Hart posted on his Instagram account:
View this post on Instagram
For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same...I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time....To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time....I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one. I appreciate the @TheAcademy for the opportunity ....now it’s time to rise to the occasion #Oscars
But the celebration was short lived, as some old Tweets were uncovered by Buzzfeed’s Michael Blackmon.
In the since-deleted tweets, Hart joked: “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,’” called someone a '“FAT FAG” and called someone else a “gay bill board for AIDS.” Despite Hart apologizing for the tweets in the years since, many were reasonably upset at their resurfacing, and Hart has been forced to readdress them.
Following Buzzfeed’s ‘report’, here' was Hart’s first response:
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
After being accused as insensitive and a delivering a ‘non-apology’, he then issued a second:
And, less than an hour later, as he was being torn apart on social media, Hart received a phone call from the academy to issue an actual apology, which he did, on Twitter, and in which he walked back his other statements and resigned his post as the 2019 Oscars host:
I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's....this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
I'm sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
Hart’s since deleted comments were hurtful and ill-advised. There are tons of people out there who are rightfully, and justifiably, offended by them, and who deserve a chance to have their voices heard.
This is non-debatable. Everyone deserves a chance to make their arguments, and put their thoughts out for public debate and understanding.
But what about those who disagree, or just generally don’t fully agree, with them? Not those who disagree with the former’s right to be offended, or even with the reasons for which they were offended in the first place, but who think that people should say what they have to say without fear of intimidation or blind outrage? Nobody is perfect. we should all be willing to forgive someone who’s made a mistake in the past, and who’s attempted to atone for their wrongdoing.
But what about when that atonement is wrapped up in an argument regarding ‘free speech’ (give me a moment)? ‘Free speech’ isn’t a concept as simple as just ‘say what you want when you want to’; it is human nature to reject free speech, as man’s intellectual capacity evolves to one less materialistic, and one more spiritual/epistemological. It is a necessary debate, that is never possible to understand within the context of only one line of thought, or way of thinking, given that ‘freedom’ in itself is such an important, and complex, concept.
Do comedians deserve a bit of slack when it comes to the terrible things that come out of their mouths? Because not only is it their jobs to do so, but because it also includes a lot of potential of personal sacrifice, as is proven by the situation with Kevin Hart. Do we all have something in us which we would like to change, which we consider to be ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ but which may be hard to get rid of? Or even to recognize??? Comedy is subjective; I personally don’t see how anyone could find those old tweets funny ever, but I’m not the only person in the world, and I don’t see how the world isn’t moving away from those jokes anyway. You don’t stop people from being pieces of shit by yelling at them; you need to actually talk to them first, and you’re not going to be able to talk to them if you automatically consider them than less than human simply for the words they use, or for the jokes they may find funny in that moment when they found them funny. Those jokes might be terrible to laugh at, but to try to tame one’s sense of humor is to not only miss the point, but to misconstrue laughter as inherently political before it is emotional, two faculties which must remain separate or else risk an inherently totalitarian thinking, insofar as totalitarian thinking can not permit personal, individualized emotion (which is what all emotion is anyway: no single person’s specified emotion is ever exactly the same (as she is growing at every moment of every day), let alone every person in the world’s) of any kind. Comedy is a lot like economics in this way: you’re dependent on the reaction of your audience/customer before you even know what you have; there’s no telling what works until you try it out.
Should Kevin Hart be at least somewhat bombasted for his past comments? Of course, but even aside from the fact that he already has been, the backlash this time is much more attuned for mob-mentality than it is legitimate argument. Otherwise, Hart wouldn’t feel so forced to simply act before having stating any further thought, and nor would anyone else caught in this public lynching going on since Trump categorized the liberals as the modern thought police rather than the conservatives of the last century, a role liberals were seemingly only too happy to embrace.
‘But you stole his dream!’ ‘He deserved it!’ ‘He was never funny in the first place, goddammit!"‘
Sooner or later, blind outrage must lead to thought police, as the fear inherent in the ignorance of the duality that is human perception (fact/emotion, individual/society, etc.) is far more overwhelming that the idea that one doesn’t know everything in the universe, and who therefore doesn’t have the right to claim absolute moral superiority in any circumstance, apologizing for past mistakes and ruining people’s careers included.
Apparently, we’ve reached a point where crying is much more fun that thinking could ever possibly be (which is not to say that crying is never necessary or even Absolutely necessary, only that no single thing is ever the whole story).
And that certainly doesn’t sound like a first step…