The announcement of Kevin Hart as this year’s Oscars host has sparked an angry backlash after homophobic comments from the comedian resurfaced online.
But Hart has hit back at criticism, arguing his critics are “looking for reasons to be angry” and that he is in “great mature place where all I do is spread positivity”.
After Hart was announced as next year’s Oscars host the comedian began deleting anti-gay posts from his Twitter, Buzzfeed reported.
But several of the tweets were screenshot by Twitter users like journalist Benjamin Lee and spread online, sparking an angry reaction.
I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets 🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/ZbYG6SI3Xm— Benjamin Lee (@benfraserlee) December 5, 2018
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/P8nTOilFgxpic.twitter.com/6uzPhnvt4F— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) December 5, 2018
I didn't like him before, and know I feel disgusted (by the way I don't finds him that Funny).— Eyad (@Eyadxoxo) December 6, 2018
That is just disgusting. @TheAcademy ought to consider another host pic.twitter.com/eJ2uhQz3L0— ᴶᵃⁿᵃ 🚴🏻♀️ (@__j4na) December 5, 2018
Wow. That's really unacceptable— GA Confidential (@ConfidentialGa) December 7, 2018
Before i saw this i just thought "come on it cant be that bad" i was wrong, this isnt a one off— James stephens (@swanage89) December 6, 2018
Many of us have jokes/tweets we regret. I’m ok with tasteless jokes, depending on context. What bothers me about these is you can tell its not just a joke-there’s real truth, anger & fear behind these. I hope Kevin’s thinking has evolved since 2011. 🌈 https://t.co/U1YgnCyByt— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 6, 2018
The Guardian also reported that Hart had made similar anti-gay comments in his comedy routines, with the performer telling an audience in 2010: “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay”.
Hart soon responded to the controversy in a video posted to Instagram but didn’t apologise for the tweets.
“The team calls me, ‘oh my god Kevin the world is upset about tweets you did years ago,’ oh my god,” Hart said, rubbing his eyes in frustration.
“Guys, I’m almost 40 years old, if you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you.
“If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify their past then do you, I’m the wrong guy man. I’m in a great place, a great mature place where all I do is spread positivity. If you’re not doing that, get out of my page.”
It’s not the first time the Oscars have come under fire over its show entertainment, with Brett Ratner resigning from his role as the ceremony’s producer in 2011.
The Hollywood producer faced a backlash after a video went viral of him saying “rehearsing is for fags” while promoting his 2011 film Tower Heist.