Oscar Host Kevin Hart Defends Anti-Gay Past Amid Escalating Backlash

Newly-minted Oscar host Kevin Hart‘s attempt to quell a growing backlash concerning his anti-gay social media history has itself triggered a backlash.

Following Tuesday’s announcement that the actor/comedian had been tapped to host the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24, Hart’s homophobic twitter past has come under new scrutiny. The swelling controversy prompted Hart to release the following statement on Instagram on Thursday.

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 you 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 am in love with the man I’m becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & 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.

Hart’s comments drew widespread scorn on Twitter, with some calling for the Academy to drop him as Oscar host.

This is both defensive and offensive—and wildly not the point. A bad situation just got worse. https://t.co/laLJMCaJVb

— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) December 7, 2018

This is not good. A simple, authentic apology showing any bit of understanding or remorse would have been so simple. Like I tweeted a few weeks ago, Hollywood still has a real problem with gay men. On the surface it may not look like it. Underneath, it’s far more complicated. https://t.co/A64LsOjVc2

— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 7, 2018

Oh well as long as YOU’RE in a good place, it’s all cool.

I don’t generally get heated about stale old tweets, but neither this guy nor his nipple should host the Oscars, aka the Gay Super Bowl. Especially since they weren’t even jokes.

— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) December 7, 2018

A rep for GLAAD, meanwhile, tells USA Today that the organization has “reached out to ABC, The Academy and Kevin Hart’s management to discuss his rhetoric and record as well as opportunities for positive LGBTQ inclusion on the Oscars stage. They have not yet responded.”

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