Not all LGBTQ advocates are celebrating Kevin Hart’s decision to bow out of hosting the 91st Academy Awards amid backlash surrounding his homophobic Twitter history.
Hart repeatedly made anti-gay comments in a series of now-deleted tweets published between 2009 and 2011, even threatening his son with violence if he caught him playing with dolls, and insulted various celebrities by calling them “gay” or “fag.”
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.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” the 39-year-old entertainer wrote Thursday night on social media. “I am evolving and want to continue to do so.”
Hart initially failed to issue an apology, insisting he had addressed the situation “several times” already. On Instagram he told people to “stop looking for reasons to be angry,” claiming he would “stand his ground” and not “feed the internet trolls.”
“Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” writes GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement shared on Twitter. “Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness.”
We would still welcome that conversation with him. The Academy has recently made significant strides in featuring diverse talent onstage and they should now double down on that commitment as they look for a new host.
— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) December 7, 2018
“We would still welcome that conversation with him,” Ellis continues. “The Academy has recently made significant strides in featuring diverse talent onstage and they should now double down on that commitment as they look for a new host.”
GLAAD previously tweeted that the LGBTQ media advocacy organization had reached out to ABC, the Academy, and Hart’s management “to discuss Kevin’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record as well as opportunities for positive LGBTQ inclusion on the Oscars stage.”
Ellis also appeared Friday on CNN’s New Day to discuss Hart’s apology and resignation, saying, “it wasn’t the conclusion I think everybody would’ve liked.”
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis on why she was hoping Kevin Hart wouldn’t step down as Oscars host:
— New Day (@NewDay) December 7, 2018
“We were hoping that this was going to turn into a teachable moment, that Kevin Hart would still be hosting the Oscars and he would be using this moment not only to show his evolution around the LGBTQ community but also to then use the Oscars stage, one of the biggest stages in the world, to help build unity and awareness around the LGBTQ community and how we are marginalized in this country,” Ellis continued, adding that she has been in contact with Hart’s representatives.
The Oscars will be held on February 24, 2019. A replacement host has not yet been announced.