I’m not a big Kevin Hart fan. Not for awhile. I used to be, though. I’ve never met the guy but I used to be genuinely proud of him and his success. But then my admiration for him turned off like a light switch five years ago. Whatever. Many people still are, especially Black people.
So it’s not surprising that many of them immediately went to Hart’s defense once the so-called “Gay Mafia” started digging up his old homophobic tweets after it was announced that he would host the 2019 Academy Awards.
What is surprising is the hypocrisy in it.
If in an alternate universe, Kevin Hart were “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” comedian Kevin James and people found dozens of racists tweets from 2009-2013, I highly doubt these same Black people would be as defensive for someone “evolving” so slowly and viciously.
For those not aware of the kinds of things Hart tweeted in the past, here are some “comedy gems” from him:
His history of homophobic rhetoric on Twitter is so extensive that a journalist made a gif of the search that scrolls as long a dropped roll of toilet paper.
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
For all of you that are regular readers of the site, you may remember that in 2013, five years ago, I wrote an extensive essay on how homophobic many Black comedians were in general entitled, The Brunt of the Joke: Black Comedy & Homophobia. Here’s an excerpt:
Black comedians, on the other hand, HATE gay people. They seem to despise them. True there are exceptions like The Wayans, Dave Chappelle and a few others. But for the most part, when you see “gay” depicted in black comedy it’s seen as something disgusting, abnormal, hidden and kept on the “down low”. From Eddie Murphy to Martin Lawrence to The Kings of Comedy… Homosexuality is not made fun of like white comedians where it’s seen as a “wink-wink” kind of thing. It’s depicted as gross, disgusting and “Ewww, nigga you gay, get away from me.”
Take one of my favorite comedians, Kevin Hart. Watching his stand up comedy film, Let Me Explain, with a male date we initially laughed when Hart went into the “gay” section of his act. Very quickly it devolved into borderline abuse and homophobia.
Kevin Hart started the jokes with the statement, “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay.” Whoa. Okay, I initially thought he was going to go into a bit about his fearing the pressures his son would have to face from society for his sexuality. But that was all wishful thinking.
Nope, Kevin feared his son becoming a flaming faggot. Oh, he tried to cover himself by saying, “I’m not homophobic” but they all do that. That’s like when a racist says, “I’m not a racist” right before he tells a “black-man-is-a-spear-chucker” joke. Saying, “I’m not a rapist” right before you forcefully violate a woman doesn’t make it so.
That was five years ago. And that essay didn’t even include the homophobic tweets, which are arguably worse than that stand-up comedy joke.
When asked about repeating the above homophobic joke and others in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, Hart 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,” he said. “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?”
Really? How about saying, “I realized that my words and jokes were hurtful to some of my fans and my job is to make people laugh, not cry or feel bad about themselves.”
Nope. He blamed the audience for being “sensitive.”
Admittedly, times have definitely changed. The culture in general is more sensitive to racism, misogyny, homophobia, sexual assault and harassment, etc. But I would argue that isn’t a bad thing. I want to live in a world where bigots can’t hide behind “it’s comedy, relax” as an excuse to offend people who are different.
Even when the controversy of his old tweets came up, Hart seems to double-down on his dismissiveness about people’s reaction to his words saying, “Stop looking for reasons to be negative. If u want to search my history or my past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me.”
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
Then, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences supposedly reached out to Hart and asked him to apologize for the old tweets, he defiantly chose to decline to apologize:
Again, imagine if this were a Caucasian comedian referring to racists jokes and old tweets. Or another celebrity with 66 million Instagram followers referring to derogatory comments about women from 2009-2012. The woke folks on Black Twitter would have already created all kinds of memes and gifs destroying that person’s character.
Guess how many Black Twitter memes we’ve seen about Kevin Hart being homophobic so far?
As I said in the essay from 2013, it’s not about making comedy bland where no groups of people are teased or mocked. I wrote this back then to clarify:
Gay jokes can be funny. Really funny actually. As stereotypical as it was, the Men on Film sketches from In Living Color were really funny. And white stand up comedians like Louis C. K. and others make Gay jokes an art form.
The difference between white comedians and black comedians though is the obvious disdain and fear black men have for Gays. Seriously, black male comedians are very hateful to Gays in their comedy. There’s a very fine line walked in whats “just a joke” vs “I really hate these faggot mothafuckas.”
I recently watched the Comedy Central Roast of actor James Franco. It featured the likes of Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) and Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) mocking James Franco for the ever flowing rumors of his sexuality. There were tons of Gay jokes. The difference here is that the gay jokes were vulgar yet not insulting in some weird way. Many of the white comedians seemed to low-key compliment Franco for being able to pull off Bisexuality with his stunning good looks. But the sheer number of Gay jokes became so overwhelming that Indian-American comedian Aziz Ansari had to comment:
Even still, the jokes weren’t super offensive. Many of the comedians mocked Franco’s rumored sexuality by insinuating that they themselves had been penetrated by and/or had performed oral sex on the delicious looking actor. Caucasian humor…you gotta love it. Very self deprecating and ironic.
Again, I can take a joke. Especially a gay joke that I can relate to…I’ve seen MANY straight white comedians make gay jokes where they imply they are gay themselves just for the sake comedy. That is totally fine. It’s seen as “white boy humor.” But this is a key point. Another observation I’ve made is the black comedians who primarily interact with white people seem to be less judgmental when it comes to homosexuality.
Take one of our favorite actor/rappers Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino). Before he landed his role on the NBC comedy Community, he performed as the sole Black American with the Derrick Comedy sketch comedy crew. Here’s one of their hilariously creative “gay -themed” sketches from 6 years ago spoofing the film “Memento”.
Dude! Hilarious (especially if you’ve seen the movie that they are spoofing).
Donald Glover’s character doesn’t purport to love engaging in a gay act, but you still don’t feel the weird disgusted aversion that the aforementioned black comedy actors display even merely pretending to slightly engage in gay intimacy.
So clearly I’m not accusing ALL black comedians of homophobia. But enough of them are that if I take a male date to a comedy club, It’s a good chance that we’ll hear more than a few extremely homophobic gay jokes. Hell, we may even be singled out by the comedian on stage for being two attractive men sitting at a table alone together, sharing a basket of wings and fries.
Again, this was five fuckin’ years ago. I tried to tell y’all.
But now, after flat out refusing to apologize…Kevin Hart has apologized for the old tweets and has stepped down from hosting the 2019 Academy Awards. Clearly this is a situation where Disney and ABC (the network which airs the Oscars) forced him out. Remember that ABC (owned by Disney) fired both James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy director) and Roseanne Barr for arguably far less offensive tweets. If not less offensive, at the least their tweets were less plentiful. So the writing was on the wall.
I can guarantee that we’ll STILL see tons of Black people defending Hart as a victim.
We’ll even see many Black Gay People defending Hart.
Gay people and their self-defense to bigotry ironically doesn’t matter to Black people. I’m still not even sure if Gay People in general matter to Black People at all.
This is why we had to publish a 2015 essay entitled, “If I’m Killed by the Police, Will My Black Gay Life Matter?”
Regardless, when all is said and done, we’re talking about the Oscars. This is an awards show that, just this year, saw the lowest ratings in the history of the telecast. More people went to see Kevin Hart in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Central Intelligence” than the number of people who watched the 2018 Academy Awards.
So maybe he’s right to double down on gay jokes. He clearly is doing just fine making “straight” movies where Dwayne Johnson is constantly cradling him in his muscular arms.