Actor and comedian Kevin Hart said Monday that he is still “confused” about widespread criticism of the way he stepped down from hosting February’s Oscar ceremony after his prior anti-gay jokes and tweets resurfaced — saying that his “attempt for good” was “lost” and “misconstrued.”
“I didn’t want to take away from a night where people should be celebrated for their hard work. I’m in the movie business, so I know the work that goes into the movie business,” he said Monday on Vulture’s “Good One” podcast when asked about his resignation in December, just days after he was announced as host. “Keep in mind, that’s the whole reason for me stepping away from it in the beginning.”
At the time, Hart argued that he did not want to draw more attention to his earlier comments, which included saying that he would tell his son, “Stop, that’s gay,” if he caught him playing with a dollhouse.
Organizers of the Oscars reportedly asked him to issue a formal apology in order to stay on as host. But he said that he declined because “I’ve addressed this several times” — then apologized after stepping down.
On Monday, Hart rejected the characterization that he seemed defensive in his response and proceeded to defend himself.
“It’s not that I’m defensive. I’m really looking at it as: ‘Guys, what do you want me to explain?’ Like, I don’t feel like that. That wasn’t done in a malicious way, to where I’m saying I’m going to do that to my kid for real! It was an attempt to be funny,” he said.
He went on to “apologize for those that are offended,” and insisted that his “ten-year change was instantly overlooked.”
“Now, I can say, within growth, within time, and a moment to step away, those that may not look into the ten-year period as growth may be looking for another round of, ‘That’s not who I am,’ and ‘I’m sorry’s.’ Which, okay. I have to understand that. I have to acknowledge that,” Hart said. “‘Okay, guys. I’m sorry.’ But then I didn’t say it right, or it wasn’t said with this and it wasn’t said with that. So now, now you just get confused.”
Hart still insisted that his previous attempts at a mea culpa “should have been good enough.”
“There’s a level of understanding that has to come from everybody, but nobody wants to relax and breathe. Right now, we live in a time where it’s cool to be angry, where it’s cool to just be irate. And what this showed me about comedy is, ‘Wow, it is real easy to be insensitive onstage. Wow, it is real easy to say some hurtful shit onstage. It is real easy to do something for a laugh that can affect somebody else’s life. Oh, shit! Whoa.’ When I read [the jokes again] I thought, ‘Oh, ooh, fuck! That’s bad. That’s extremely bad,’” he said.
“I’m asking for the understanding and acknowledgement of someone being ignorant to what is going on and to simply think that his apology from old should have been good enough.”