So the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced yesterday that comedian Kevin Hart will host the 91st Academy Awards on February 24, 2019.
But not everyone’s happy about it.
Considering how many of the Oscars’ biggest fans are women and gay men it’s quite something for the Academy to hire a guy who beat one wife, cheated on another when she was eight months pregnant and said one of his biggest fears is his son growing up and being gay.
— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) December 5, 2018
Yeah, he wouldn’t be our first choice for Oscars host either.
Just a little backstory: In a radio interview last December, Hart admitted to cheating on his wife, Eniko Parrish, just a few months earlier while she was pregnant with his child.
And in his 2017 memoir I Can’t Make This Up, he admitted to being physical abusive toward his first wife, Torrei Hart.
And, yes, there were those comments he made during his 2010 comedy special “Seriously Funny” about how his “biggest fear” in life was having a gay son and that, as a heterosexual male, he would do everything in his power to prevent that from ever happening.
Now we get it, times change and people evolve. Someone who once held a homophobic belief can have their heart and mind opened. It’s totally possible.
But in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Hart didn’t seem to have changed much. While he said he probably wouldn’t make that same joke again, he added that it wasn’t because the joke bombed, but rather people are more “sensitive” than they used to be.
I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now. I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals, because we can. These things become public spectacles. So why set yourself up for failure?
That same year, Hart also said in a radio interview that he would never play a gay character because he would feel too “insecure.”
Then later, he appeared in the movie “Get Hard,” an R-rated bro-com starring Will Ferrell as a millionaire sentenced to ten years in prison for embezzlement who asks Hart to help “toughen him up” before heading off to the slammer. The film was chocked full of homophobic jokes and endless talk about anal sex and male rape.
Variety called “Get Hard” the “most high-profile comedy ever made about the subject of prison rape.”
As part of his prison-prep routine, Ferrell decides to try to perform oral sex on a guy, and he takes an older gentleman into a bathroom stall. “I’m going to suck your d–,” Ferrell says, but he’s so disgusted by the thought, the scene will feel homophobic to some viewers. Another running joke has Ferrell shove objects up his anus.
Considering how queer this year’s Oscar race is shaping up to be, with films like “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and “Boy Erased” that both feature gay characters, and movies about gay icons like Freddie Mercury or starring gay icons like Lady Gaga, the fact that Hart is going to be hosting the ceremony feels especially awkward.
In a statement posted to Instagram yesterday, Hart wrote, “I will be sure to make this year’s Oscars a special one. I appreciate The Academy for the opportunity…now it’s time to rise to the occasion.”