After two days, Kevin Hart has stepped down as the host of the Academy Awards. Hart’s announcement that he would be hosting the event was met with push-back online after readers found homophobic tweets and jokes in his timeline history.
Hart took to Twitter to announce his decision not to host the event shortly after midnight on Friday. Hart told his followers, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past”.
The apology was a bit of a surprise, since he refused to apologize for the previous tweets earlier this week. On Instagram Hart posted a video to followers saying that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences gave him a choice to apologize or that he would be removed, and Hart said, “I chose to pass on the apology.”
Hart added, “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times.”
Kevin Hart did end up deleting the old tweets after he was picked to host the event, some of which were from 2009. Many people already had screen-grabs of the jokes and statements from before the deletion, and they have been circulating social-media sites since he was confirmed as host. This isn’t even the first time that something like this has happened, back in 2012 Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy stepped down from the event after Ratner used a gay slur at a screening.
The big question on everyone’s mind is why ABC and other networks aren’t checking social-media sites and diving into timelines before picking lead-actors or hosts. ABC/Disney/Marvel seems to be one-step behind its employees and always on the defense in these scenarios. In some cases, like Roseanne Barr, the event happens while they are employees of ABC, and the network has to move quickly, but “Guardians of the Galaxy” writer James Gunn was in a similar boat when his old tweets about pedophilia and rape came back to haunt him.
Disney has strict morality clauses for most of its employees and you would thing that scrubbing social-media would be a top priority for the company. Right now it’s not at the moment, and it’s becoming a growing problem for the industry.
The network shouldn’t take the blame though, the easiest way to stop this from happening is just having talent stop making homophobic remarks, and everyone needs to learn that sarcasm does not work on social-media sites where there is no context to what you are saying.