Friday, December 07, 2018

My Weekend Non-Crush

Here is the thing about us humans. We’re often bad. We have bad thoughts and bad ideas and bad actions. Literally, no one is perfect. But the other thing about humans is so many of us try to be better.

So when people say they’ve “changed” as a person, sometimes they actually have. But sometimes, they really, really haven’t.

When Kevin Hart was announced as the new Oscar host for the most part I shrugged. He isn’t my brand of comedy, but whatever. We’ve had plenty of mediocre and/or uninspiring Oscar hosts. But then almost immediately after the announcement, when his truly vile past anti-pay tweets emerged, I got annoyed.

And when he issued his “statement” on Instagram that started by saying, “Stop looking for reasons to be negative...Stop searching for reasons to be angry.” I got even more annoyed.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with Kevin Hart’s past anti-gay tweets, all posted less than 10 years ago, here is a sampling. Like I was saying, vile. [Click to embiggen the vileness]

The thing about these tweets is they aren’t just your run-of-the-mill “ha-ha, that’s so gay” throwaways. Sure, that kind of language is not acceptable and should be addressed and corrected. But much of that is more thoughtless than malicious. No, his tweets displayed a deep, deep discomfort and even revulsion with gay identity. The mere thought of someone – heaven forbid his child – being gay makes him resort to talk of violence. So, again, vile.

In his statement/non-apology he say in a shirtless video (because sure, why not, do this kind of thing shirtless):
“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 or explain 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.”
Whew. OK, here we go. I am glad you are in a great place, Kevin. You know what LGBTQ people want? To also be in a great place where celebrities do not see our very existence as something to laugh at with obvious disgust. And do you know what is not spreading positivity? Glossing over your past bigotry with weird self platitudes.

So first he posted his weird self-congratulatory video/non-apology. And then later that same day he put up another video on Instagram saying he purposely “passed” on apologizing:
“I passed. The reason I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. Regardless, to the Academy, I’m thankful for the opportunity, if it goes away, no harm, no foul”
And then even later that same day, he – I mean clearly his publicist, posted a tweet that said:
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's....this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
This is as textbook an example of “How Not To Apologize Properly” as you can get. His eventual apology seems hollow. Because, let’s be honest, it is.

Look, people can genuinely evolve. I hope we all do. But to evolve you have to acknowledge past mistakes, apologize for them and show real growth.

So now that we’re short an Oscar host this year, might I suggest – oh I don’t know – a woman? How about Kate McKinnon? Or Wanda Sykes? Or Ellen DeGeneres? Or Tiffany Haddish? Or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler? Or Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer? Or Constance Wu? Or, dream of dreams, Hannah Gadsby?

There are so many amazing choices who would make wonderful Oscar/Gay Super Bowl hosts for next year who are not, you know, homophobic garbage. Happy weekend, all.


Carmen SanDiego said...

So Kevin Hart was exposed for being trash, refused to apologize, double down on the not-apologizing saying he would rather lose the gig, lost the gig and had to apologize anyway. I guess someone explained to him in terms he could understand that he was gonna lose not just the Oscars but his whole career.
But yeah, even before this came to light any of the choices you presented were better than Kevin Hart

Anonymous said...


Osiris said...

If he used to be homophobic and has since learned and grown and is no longer, isn’t that progress? Isn’t that the goal? Its a slippery slope when we go digging in ones past. The man isn't a pastor or a politician why should he be held to a higher standard? I'm not a fan of his but to me its another case of people enjoying seeing someone torn down.

Nici75 said...

As I said earlier today, if this was some white guy spewing racist invective as blatantly hateful as those "old" tweets, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Hate like that isn't an easy habit to kick. It's a lot easier to pick up a habit of not saying certain things, which is exactly what I think Kevin's managed to do.

Someone should also tell ol' Kevin that someone truly sorry would apologize without qualification.

"I'm sorry" *never* has a "But!" attached. Never.

Anonymous said...

Clearly he should have focused on making lesbophobic and misogynistic tweets. He would still be a host if he had. Nobody cares about misogyny and certainly nobody, especially not "progressives", cares about lesbians. Alas, he attacked gay men. They're men so people care. Another solution: he should have said he "identifies" as a woman and boom! he would have gotten a pass. In fact he would have been celebrated. You really played this wrong, Kevin. With just some finesse, you could have gotten away with everything. You know, just like trans-identified males who spew misogyny and lesbophobia on a regular basis and who are celebrated for it.

Erin O'Riordan said...

I'm with Osiris - Tweets from a decade ago and a few wildly inappropriate jokes, causing offense but no actual harm - don't piss me off that much. Kevin Hart uses his own personal money to send brilliant-but-poor black kids from his hometown of Philly to college. He doesn't have to do that, but he chooses to because he understands the importance of education and opportunity. I'm just not convinced he's bad on the inside.

Does anyone remember the Patton Oswalt routine about people who are good but sometimes say the wrong thing, vs. someone who uses all the right language but their ideas are all terrible ideas? That.

Would I love Tiffany Haddish or Leslie Jones to host the Academy Awards, though? Yes. Definitely yes.