Hartless

The Kevin Hart hosts the Oscars debacle is not about a tweet. Or even a few tweets. Or even a number of tweets.

And there are a number of tweets!

But it’s worth pointing out that those tweets are full of knee-jerk, casual homophobia that normalises hating people who are gay, that normalises violence against us.

It’s not about a man who made a misfired joke.

Watch that “joke” about his gay panic over the potential of his son being gay. Listen as he laughs about knocking down his son and a friend because he thought they were acting less-than-masculine. There is no joke in there. No witty observation. No self-deprecation about his own intolerance, as Hart tried to claim. Just a straight man again spewing out his disgust at the very idea of homosexuality.

It’s not about a comedian being targeted by the intolerant left, or shamed into silence, or being torn down by jealousy, or maligned by the overly sensitive.

The Kevin Hart hosts the Oscars debacle is about a man who has made a career of hate masquerading as humour. Not just with tweets and jokes but with films and TV including The Wedding Ringer, Get Hard, Top Five, Think Like a Man TooCentral Intelligence, and The Real Husbands of Hollywood.

It’s about a man who thinks his past homophobia should be ignored because it happened a decade ago. Except it didn’t, because those movies and TV shows just mentioned have all come out since then. Except that in 2009 calling people fags was just as unacceptable as it was when Eddie Murphy did it in the 1980s.

It’s about a man whose idea of an apology was to post on Instagram, “Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry…” No one had to look, Mr Hart. You rubbed it in our fag faces with your tweets and jokes and movies.

Kevin Hart would hate you beating off to these, so have at it.

It’s about about a man who claims in the video accompanying his Instagram post that people “change, grow, evolve”. Yet if he has grown, changed and evolved then that means he chose to leave his hateful tweets online because…I have no answer to this other than to think he really hasn’t grown, or changed, or evolved. Which is evident from his non-apology apology.

It’s about a man who, had he had made similar jokes about ethnic minorities and women, would never have been asked to host the Oscars. Or much of anything.

So why was he even considered for this gig? Why did he get it? Why did he win Comedy Act of the Year at this year’s People’s Choice awards?

It’s because being gay is still the only truly acceptable form of hate, especially among straight men.

It’s because we still matter less than straight people. Why else would we have to fight to get, or keep, basic rights like being able to marry or freedom from employment discrimination?

It’s because young boys are still killed by parents who think they are acting “gay”.

It’s because we are still are beaten and murdered by straight men who then claim “gay panic” forced them to do it.

It’s because still, even with every advance we’ve made, when someone like Kevin Hart tells everybody that being gay is disgusting and unnatural, deep down in so many straight hearts there’s a tiny voice that says “He’s right.”

Edited to add:

So Hart just stepped down from the Oscar gig. He’s also being heralded as having said he’s sorry. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”

First, your endless gay panic peppered films are hardly “past”. Second, “insensitive” is a loaded term – because it implies we were all just being sensitive about how you wanted to bash your son because he might be a fag. Third, let’s see how evolved you get – I predict not very given that you’ve again made an apology that gives you enough wiggle room to retain your no homo cred…

Edited to add (5 January 2019):

Ellen DeGeneres has broadcast an hour long interview with Hart in which she absolves him of his homophobia and lend her support to have him host the Oscars. According to her those of us who took issue with Hart are “trolls” and “haters” just “a small group of people being very, very loud” while she speaks for “a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars”.

A lot of people have rightly taken issue with what she’s done, and why she’s done it. The latter question fascinates me.

I understand why the Academy are still circling Hart. Their condemnation was limp at best and no other host has been announced. They’ve likely suffered fallout by dumping a black man popular with a younger crowd as host. #OscarsSoWhite is still a legitimate complaint as is #OscarsSoOld. Having a now-anointed-as-forgiven-by-Saint-Ellen Hart onboard would see them save face over calls of racism. They know how loyal we gays are as an audience and that we’ll swallow our anger eventually. We have to do that every day, this is just another dead rat for us to digest.

‘Why’ DeGeneres did this’ is harder to guess at. Why would someone often regarded as the most powerful gay person in media give a powerful straight homohobic man who, from the interview, clearly still doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, a soapbox to rehabilitate himself? Why would she not call him on this “it’s in the past” spin and note his recent history of incredibly homophobic films? Why would she label a widespread group of gay people who had sensible concerns “as small group” of “trolls” and “haters”? 

I can guess at some answers – but most of them involve privilege based on her celebrity, her wealth, status, and money. She’s famous and she has famous friends, including Hart apparently. Sometimes it’s hard to stand up against friends who are being bad people. DeGeneres thinks she’s done her friend a favour here. Instead, she’s allowed him to drag her down into his awfulness, and expose herself as the tone-deaf, out of touch celebrity that she is.

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