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Kevin Hart's appearance on Ellen just proves how unwilling he is to take responsibility for his comments

Somehow, Kevin has managed to position himself as the victim in this situation.

PastedImage-47384 Source: Ellen

THIS WEEK, ELLEN DeGeneres brought Kevin Hart onto her TV show to talk about the whole debacle surrounding the 2019 Oscars. If you have no idea what’s going on, this should bring you up to speed.

Ellen firmly stated that she forgives Kevin Hart, and wants to give him a second chance. In a particularly lengthy segment, they each spent six minutes talking about their perspectives on the issue. Ellen began by telling a story about how she and Kevin went for dinner shortly after she hosted the Oscars, and how while they were eating their meal, Kevin said it had always been a dream of his to host the Oscars.

Needless to say, Kevin was delighted when the opportunity came up. After a day of celebrating, he says he was “hit with an onslaught on social media”. He hoped he could ignore it, but eventually he decided to make a statement on Instagram, which drew a lot more attention to the situation. Kevin said that he was tired of apologising for things he said in the past, that he no longer stands by. 

In his interview with Ellen, he reiterates this. 

I’m a little upset because I know who I am. I know that I don’t have a homophobic bone in my body. I know that I’ve addressed it, I know that I’ve apologised. I’ve taken ten years to put my apology to work. I’ve yet to go back to that version of the immature comedian that I once was. I’ve moved on. I’m a grown man.
I’m a guy that understands now. I look at life through a different lens now and because of that, I live it a different way. 

Of course people make mistakes, and of course in many cases, people learn from them and become better people. We’re not going to dispute that at all, and there’s no evidence online that Kevin has made any more homophobic comments since he was first called out on them, which is great.

As the interview goes on, Kevin listed off two of the occasions in which he addressed his comments publicly after the first few spates of criticism. He added, “I understand what those words do and how they hurt. I understand why people would be upset, which is why I made the choice not to use them anymore. I don’t joke like that anymore, because that was wrong.” 

Over the last few weeks, how many times has Kevin Hart had to explain this? In multiple interviews about the Oscars, he has repeated over and over again that he has apologised already. He could have saved himself all of this trouble, had he just issued an apology on Instagram. In fact, had he just hired a PR company to write a few lines for him to copy and paste into his iPhone notes from an email so that he could tweet a screenshot, none of us would have known any better, and he’d still be hosting the Oscars this year.

If the video won’t play, click here

Kevin Hart made a decision, which might be one of those mistakes he’s going to have to learn from, to say that he was sick of apologising for these comments year after year, and so now he’s going to stop apologising. He ended his statement by saying that if he lost his opportunity to host the Oscars because he refused to apologise yet again, then “no harm, no foul.” It’s not as if he didn’t know what was going to happen. 

Now, it might be arguable that the public response to Kevin’s Instagram statement has done a considerable amount of harm to LGBTQ people, in that actual homophobic people are championing Kevin as a martyr of free speech, who refused to bow down to all of the snowflakes obsessed with PC culture, while ignoring the fact that he has in fact apologised in the past and claims that he has genuinely learned from all of this.

Kevin’s upset that people aren’t acknowledging his previous attempts to make the situation right, because it reflects badly on him, and as he says multiple times, slanders him as being homophobic. His problem here is that it’s an inconvenience to himself. 

PastedImage-36745 Source: Ellen

The second part of the interview is unusual, in that we don’t often see Ellen DeGeneres taking sides. Her universal likability and success is in part due to her neutrality on controversial topics and politics (minus same-sex marriage, for obvious reasons), but there is no doubt in any viewer’s mind that she doesn’t stand by Kevin Hart in this situation.

There’s no semblance of criticism for how Kevin Hart has handled this situation (which is pretty badly, considering he has the resources to completely avoid PR disasters like this) in Ellen’s response. She assures Kevin it’ll be okay. 

Whatever’s happening on the internet, don’t pay attention to that. That’s a small group of people being very, very loud. We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars. 

The conversation now positions Kevin Hart as the victim. Victim of what exactly? Posting homophobic tweets and later having to deal with the repercussions of that? Losing a job because he threw a bit of a tantrum and decided not to apologise, when it would have taken just a couple of minutes out of his day? After rapturous applause from Ellen’s audience who want justice for Kevin, the 39-year-old comedian spoke about his victimisation. 

In this case, it’s tough for me because it was an attack. This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t a coincidence that the day after I received a job that tweets just somehow manifested from 2008. I got over 40,000 tweets. To go through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008, that’s an attack. That’s a malicious attack on my character. 

Just a note: You don’t have to actually scroll past 40,000 tweets to drag up an old tweet. There’s a search function on Twitter which allows you to search for keywords, so realistically it took whoever found these tweets about 5 seconds. They weren’t some obsessive hacker trawling through Kevin’s tweets for hours to find the negative ones.

Kevin continued: 

That’s an attack to end me. I’m not going to get too emotional but when you witness this, and you stand in front of it and you heard that these things exist. I’ve heard about it and I’d never experienced it and this is my first time in the fire. Oh my God. This was to destroy me. This was to end all partnerships, all brand relationships, all investment opportunities, studio relationships, my production company and the people who work underneath me. This was to damage the lives that have been invested in me. It’s bigger than just the Oscars. 

The thing is, Kevin’s the one who wrote the tweets. This is what happens when you have a huge platform and say something stupid. There are repercussions. The person who dug up the old tweets might have been angry or incredulous that someone who had previously made jokes about AIDS and gay children was given the huge job of hosting the Oscars.

Maybe they were, in fact, trying to damage Kevin’s career and opportunities. But Kevin is the person who wrote those tweets. Nobody pinned dirt on him, except for himself. This entire situation has shown us all how eager he is to blame everyone but himself. If Kevin Hart is a changed man, as he says, then surely he would just accept responsibility, acknowledge that it’s in the past and get on with things. 

Instead, he told the Oscars to forget about it, he wasn’t going to apologise and he didn’t mind if he lost his job as a result. When they told him that he was, in fact, going to lose his job, it’s clear that he was in disbelief that he was not as untouchable as he had once thought. At the end of the day, it’s no real loss for Kevin Hart – he’s obscenely rich and has more money than any individual could spend in a lifetime. We’re not going to see him on the breadline any time soon because of this.

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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