Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che is the latest comedian to defend Kevin Hart after he stepped down from 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 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.”
“Well, that was short,” Che joked last night during the NBC variety show’s “Weekend Update” segment, referring to Hart’s lost gig and poking fun at his height.
“Kevin Hart had to step down as host of the upcoming Academy Awards because of homophobic tweets from 2011,” Che explained before calling out the Academy’s hypocrisy: “But didn’t the Academy nominate Mel Gibson for an award just last year?”
A woman in the SNL studio audience voiced her approval of Che’s point, which the fake news anchor briefly stopped to acknowledge.
“Also, if Kevin Hart isn’t clean enough to host the Oscars, then no black comic is,” Che continued, arguably defending Hart for the sake of setting up a punchline: “The only black comic I know that’s cleaner than Kevin Hart is booked for the next three to 10 years.” Cue the photo of Bill Cosby.
Che’s remarks follow those of comedian D.L. Hughley, who got into a Twitter war with Pose star Indya Moore after tweeting, “I’d never apologize for a joke.” Nick Cannon has also defended Hart by sharing old tweets from Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and Chelsea Handler that used homophobic language.
“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” Hart wrote Thursday night on social media. “I am evolving and want to continue to do so.”
The 39-year-old entertainer 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.”
The Oscars will be held on February 24, 2019, but a replacement host has not yet been announced.