Kevin Hart Once Admitted Homophobic Remarks Can 'Throw You Under the Bus': We’re 'Too Sensitive'
In a recently unearthed clip from 2014, Hart addressed his past homophobic comments and the negative impact they could have on a comedian's career
In a recently unearthed clip reportedly from 2014, Kevin Hart addressed his past homophobic comments — and shared that he would no longer make similar remarks because of the terrible impact they could have on a career.
TMZ reports an outtake from a 2014 interview on Conversations with Ed Gordon includes the comedian and actor saying that he felt like people had become “too sensitive” these days. He went on to say that “homosexuality right now is in a place where it’s not a joke.”
Without going into specifics, Hart acknowledged that “the words and terms that were used at a certain point in time are considered slander, are considered violent terms due to the fact of all the hate crimes that have been had and all of the verbal attack[s].”
“So I personally don’t think it’s funny. I don’t joke about it. I don’t want that problem. I don’t need any enemies, at all,” he said, later adding that he was fully aware that making homophobic comments could do more than just “stop a career.”
“It can throw you under the bus,” he remarked. “I understand it and I agree with it and I get why it is now a serious thing.”
Reps for Hart did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment about the 2014 interview.
Shortly after it was announced this week that Hart would be hosting the 91st Academy Awards, his past homophobic comments and tweets were resurfaced online, and the backlash led him to quickly back out of his hosting duties and apologize.
On Friday, as the fallout continued, Hart shared a quote from the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. on Twitter, writing, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Hours earlier, Hart had apologized for his previous remarks.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….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,” he tweeted.
“I’m sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart,” Hart added. “Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
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Following Tuesday’s announcement that Hart would host the Oscars, people began resurfacing previous tweets Hart had written in which he used anti-gay slang, using the hashtag #OscarsSoHomophobic.
A clip from Hart’s 2010 comedy special Seriously Funny, in which he made a homophobic joke, was also sent around. Hart said in the video, “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic. Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”
“I’m thinking about what I did as a dad, did I do something wrong, and if I did, what was it?” he said at the time. “Not that I’m not gonna love my son or think about him any differently. The funny thing within that joke is that it’s me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities — I panicked. It has nothing to do with him, it’s about me.”
That apology was one of the reasons Hart initially refused to give in to the backlash that started after his Oscars gig was announced — even after the Academy allegedly asked him to issue an apology.
The Academy has not commented on the reaction to Hart’s casting as host nor on his revelation that they asked for him to apologize, though a source familiar with the situation confirmed to PEOPLE that the Academy did ask Hart to apologize.
Prior to the Academy’s asking of an apology, Hart addressed the tweets in a video that has since been deleted.
“I swear, man, our world is becoming beyond crazy,” he said on Wednesday. “I’m not going to let the craziness frustrate me or anger me especially when I worked hard to get to the mental space that I am at now.”
“My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, the world is upset about tweets you did years ago.’ Oh my God. Guys, I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people grow, change, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you,” Hart went on. “If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past — then do you. I’m the wrong guy, man. I’m in a great place, a great mature place where all I do is spread positivity. If you’re not doing that, you’re not on my page.”