Kevin Hart during the Sydney Film Festival on June 6, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (James Gourley/Getty Images)
Kevin Hart has said he doesn’t “give a s**t about cancel culture” as he reflected on the homophobia row that forced him to step down from hosting the Oscars.
The comedian had been due to host the Academy Awards in 2019 until it emerged that he’d written a series of homophobic posts calling gay people “f*gs” between 2009 and 2012.
Hart initially refused to apologise but later did so after being pressured to step down, claiming he was sincerely sorry for the “insensitive words from my past”.
He took a less conciliatory approach with The Sunday Times on Sunday (13 June) as he blithely denounced “cancel culture” – otherwise known as consequences for one’s actions.
“I mean, I personally don’t give a s**t about [cancel culture],” he said.
“If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached. But when you just talk about… nonsense? When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the f**k up! What are you talking about?”
“I’ve been cancelled, what, three or four times? Never bothered,” he added. “If you allow it to have an effect on you, it will. Personally? That’s not how I operate. I understand people are human. Everyone can change.”
Kevin Hart is no stranger to controversy: before the Oscars scandal he’d previously come under fire for anti-gay comments he made on his 2010 Seriously tour.
“One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear,” he said at the time. “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.”
This was followed by a joke about knocking his son to the ground if he ever came out.
He’s also admitted that he refuses to play gay characters in any films, and that he once turned down a role in Tropic Thunder because it involved “flagrant” homosexuality.
Speaking to The Times, Hart was dismissive of the criticism and suggested people should be more forgiving of him because he’s apologised.
“If people want to pull up stuff, go back to the same tweets of old, go ahead. There is nothing I can do,” he said.
“You’re looking at a younger version of myself. A comedian trying to be funny and, at that attempt, failing. Apologies were made. I understand now how it comes off. I look back and cringe. So it’s growth. It’s about growth.”