Kevin Hart Speaks Out After Facing Backlash for Tweeting His Support for Gay Star Jussie Smollett

Hart's support of Smollett, who was the victim of an apparent violent hate crime, comes in the wake of the comedian's past homophobic tweets

Kevin Hart is responding to backlash over his support of Jussie Smollett.

“I stand with a man in his time of hurt and need by giving him heartfelt support and u take the time to harp on my 10yr past that I have apologized about and moved on from by being a better person,” Hart wrote on Twitter Wednesday of Smollett who was the victim of an apparent hate crime Early Tuesday morning.

“Do you want change? If so I am an example of what u want people to do… CHANGE!” Hart added.

The criticism of Hart’s message to Smollett, in which he questioned “WTF is going on [in] the world?”, was in response to the comedian’s past homophobic tweets that resurfaced last month and caused him to step down from hosting the Oscars.

A number of social media users pointed to the attack on Smollett as an example of why Hart’s past controversial jokes and statements were so hurtful to the LGBTQ community.

Kevin Hart/Twitter

“This is why someone’s jokes about beating their gay son were never funny,” wrote TV writer Ira Madison III in reference to a comment Hart made about hitting his son over the head with his daughter’s dollhouse if he plays with it. Hart has recently apologized for his past comments.

“Do you see why the jokes weren’t funny now?” wrote another Twitter user.

At around 2 a.m. local time in Chicago on Tuesday, Smollett went to the hospital.

Daniel Zuchnik/Getty; Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty

The Chicago Police Department confirmed in a statement that a member of the hit Fox show was involved in a “racially-charged assault and battery,” though they did not name Smollett.

“A 36 year old man was walking … when two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him,” the statement read. “The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck. The offenders fled the scene.”

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Late Wednesday, police released two photos of the persons of interest, however, the images did not show the individuals’ faces.

“Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member,” Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted on Wednesday evening alongside the photos of the figures, both wearing dark clothing, walking side-by-side. “While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed.”

Guglielmi revealed new details about the attack to PEOPLE Wednesday, saying Smollett was targeted on his way home from a Subway, where he’d gone for a late night snack following his flight back to Chicago from New York.

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