Well, that was fast: It was just two nights ago when we reported that the Oscars had finally found someone—anyone!—willing to host them this year, in the form of certified movie star and comedian Kevin Hart. That’s also roughly how long it took for people who’d been following Hart’s career for a while now to note that he used to have a pretty bad habit of tweeting out “jokes” with anti-gay sentiments, with folks like Billy Eichner and Dave Holmes highlighting a number of comments Hart made on social media to that effect from 2009 to 2011. All of which have now been deleted, but included sentiments like, “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.’” Per The Hollywood Reporter, Hart also did a stand-up routine in 2011 about needing to “nip it in the bud” after his 3-year-old son had a “gay moment.”
Hart has now responded to said criticisms in the most PR-friendly way possible: A rambling, shirtless, black-and-white Instagram video in which he talks about positivity, growth, and definitely not apologizing for whack shit he might have said when he was a young (but still movie-starring comic) at the tender young age of 31.
Hart’s carefully vetted statements about how “crazy” it is that he might be held accountable for blatant homophobia do not appear to have done much to alleviate his critics’ concerns; it’s not clear yet how the Academy—who would probably love to have a year where no one yells at them for fucking up, at some point—will respond to the criticisms of Hart’s hiring.
Update: Hart has now posted a second video, in which he suggests that the Academy has demanded that he either apologize for his past comments or give up the hotting job, adding that he refused the offer to make the apology. It’s not clear yet if the Academy is now about to make good and drop Hart as a host.