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Kevin Hart posted to Instagram on Thursday to address the wave of criticism following news that he would host the 2019 Academy Awards—and a slew of old tweets that people say should bar him from hosting.
The Motion Picture Academy announced Tuesday that Hart would be hosting this year’s Oscars ceremony, and but it didn’t take long for the decision to seem problematic. As the Hollywood Reporter noted, the comedian’s old homophobic jokes quickly began to surface.
Hart already caused controversy back in 2011, when he joked during a stand-up routine that “You’ve got to nip it in the bud!” when he witnessed his 3-year-old son having a “gay moment.” Several critics found the joke homophobic, the Guardian reported. Rediscovered tweets from around that time reflect a similar sense of humor to the line that landed him in hot water.
“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,'” a tweet from that same year reads. In 2009, Hart insulted someone on Twitter by calling them a “fat faced fag,” and the next year, he insinuated a profile picture made an individual look “like a gay bill board for AIDS.”
The tweets, along with similarly homophobic ones, remained up on Hart’s Twitter as recently as the day it was announced he would host the Oscars, though they’ve since been taken down. Pose star Indya Moore was particularly vocal about how previous tweets and jokes make Hart an inappropriate choice for the awards ceremony.
You @KevinHart4real are NOT FIT a model, or representative to Host for the @TheAcademy which CELEBRATES & WELCOMES talent of all genders, sexualities, & ethnicitieas. you frequently reveal yourself to occupy the malevolence you treat people who don't sexually exist like you as.— IAM (@IndyaMoore) December 6, 2018
The Academy has yet to issue a formal response, but Hart posted a lengthy reply about the controversy on his Instagram Thursday. “Stop looking for reasons to be negative,” he begins. “If u want to search my history of past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming.”
View this post on Instagram
Stop looking for reasons to be negative...Stop searching for reasons to be angry....I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people....there is nothing that you can do to change that...NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all....with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love....Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please....What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY.....ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you....Have a beautiful day
A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on
Instead of apologizing, Hart states, “I LOVE EVERYBODY … If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you.”
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Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.