Kevin Hart is finally conceding that he did not correctly handle the backlash over resurfaced homophobic tweets from years ago that derailed his chance at hosting the 2019 Oscar ceremony.
He addressed the controversy in his new Netflix series, Kevin Hart: Don’t F―k This Up, in which the Jumanji star gives his fans a raw look at his life behind the scenes in the last year—including the Oscars debacle.
“Looking back at it. What I thought it was, it wasn’t. And my approach to dealing with it, because of the assumption that I had, was just wrong,” he says of the controversy in the doc.
He continued: “I fucked up. … Instead, I said, ‘I addressed it.’ I said, ‘I apologized.’ I said, ‘I talked about this already.’ I was just immature.”
The comedian stepped down last year from hosting the Oscars, which he called a dream job, after mounting pressure from the LGBTQ community and its allies over resurfaced homophobic tweets from several years ago.
Hart initially tried to dismiss the controversy, but revealed that he’d stepped down after the Academy called to tell him to apologize or “we’re going to have to move on and find another host.”
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” he tweeted at the time. “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.”
Looking back, Hart says he realized that his approach was all wrong, especially after going on the Ellen DeGeneres show to explain himself. DeGeneres also received backlash after revealing she called the Academy of Arts and Sciences to ask its leaders to reconsider Hart. Many complained that the interview portrayed Hart as a victim.
“I had conversations with tons of gay friends. I remember Lee Daniels telling me, ‘Kevin, it’s not about the apology. It’s about you saying you don’t condone violence. And that’s when the light bulbs really started going off.”
The Netflix series also shows the different attempts at damage control from Hart’s team. But overall, the comedian realized the fault was his.
“I missed an opportunity to say simply that I don’t condone any type of violence in any way, shape or form to anyone for being who they are,” he said.