Column: Hart’s Apologies Are Enough
By Ethan Cannistra, Contributing Writer
The Academy Awards ceremony is the most important night of the year in the film industry. Actors, directors, cinematographers, and many more people involved in filmmaking all gather together for one night to celebrate the best that the year in film had to offer, and at the center of this ceremony is a host. The host of the Oscars serves several roles, such as keeping the individuals attending the Oscars entertained, keeping the viewers at home engaged, and maintaining consistency throughout the show. Clearly, the host is a very important position at the Oscars.
For the first time in 30 years, the Academy Awards will not have a host. In December of 2018, it was announced that Kevin Hart would be hosting the 2019 Oscars. However, the day after Hart was announced as host, there was severe backlash from people who believed he was an inappropriate choice to host the awards ceremony. The cause of this backlash was a series of decade-old homophobic tweets, for which Hart had already apologized. The Academy then told Hart to apologize for his tweets again, more sincerely, or step down. He made the decision to step down and has continued to be criticized for his tweets over the past few months. After The Academy asked Hart to resign from his position as host, the producers had a difficult time finding a suitable replacement for him. It has now become clear that the 2019 Oscars will not have a host and will rely on a rotating cast of celebrities to introduce segments.
Kevin Hart made homophobic jokes on Twitter a decade ago that he has publicly apologized for several times. The general public moved past these tweets years ago and had forgotten about them until some individuals on the internet decided to dig them up again after Hart was announced as the Oscar host. When Kevin Hart did apologize in the immediate backlash, he was scrutinized for not giving the right kind of apology. Certain film pundits claimed that his apology did not come off as sincere enough and that he was only apologizing because he had to. As such, The Academy requested that Hart apologize again. Hart refused, saying he had said everything he had to say, and stepped down from the position of host.
The tweets that Hart made a decade ago were inexcusable; however, given that no similar jokes were made in the years following, it would seem he learned from the backlash he received when he first made them. Everyone has their flaws and people should be able to move on from past mistakes and continue to live their lives. Now, as a result of this, we will not have an Oscar host for the first time in 30 years. Therefore, it’s not surprising that other celebrities would be hesitant to be put under the spotlight as well.
To avoid this problem, The Academy should have, if not supported Hart, at least not have given him an ultimatum. The Academy not supporting Hart sent a statement throughout Hollywood that they would not support their host. The entire issue is indicative of the ever more apparent callout culture that we live in. People are recognized for their bad behavior either on their own or through being informed, and typically they apologize, but when they do, it’s never good enough. People are not allowed to grow from their mistakes or to demonstrate that they have learned. Soon, it is going to be very hard to get anybody to host events that may draw excessive attention to them or their past, because the mistakes you made 10 years ago now have the capability to ruin your career, and it has become clear that the Academy will not support whoever hosts.