As the Oscars controversy over old anti-gay tweets from Kevin Hart intensifies, CNN's Don Lemon offered a stinging rebuff to the potential host's history of homophobia.
Lemon criticized Hart for his handling of the fallout surrounding the comedian stepping down from hosting duties last month. The Academy gave Hart an ultimatum once the tweets from 2010 resurfaced. Rather than apologizing, which Hart claimed he did after the tweets were posted almost nine years ago, he decided to turn down the gig instead. On Friday's edition of CNN Tonight Lemon spoke for nine minutes on Hart's recent visit to fellow comedienne Ellen DeGeneres' talk show.
"Apologizing and moving on does not make the world a better place for people who are gay or people who are transgender, being an ally does," says CNN's @DonLemon, reacting to the Oscars' openness to Kevin Hart's return https://t.co/ITGU3Uj2ez pic.twitter.com/4u48sfBF0U— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) January 5, 2019
The Friday appearance on the daytime show seemed to be an attempt to make amends and apologize to the LGBTQ community for the Philadelphia native's past remarks on homosexuality, which included threats of violence toward his son if he were to identify as gay.
"I said I would much rather step down and apologize again," Hart told DeGeneres this week. "Once again, I'm sorry if these words hurt. I'm sorry but either my apology is accepted, or it isn't. I can move forward or I can't, but you can't grow as a person unless you make mistakes."
DeGeneres ultimately forgave him after the visit and even said she made a call to the Academy, but Lemon and others pointed out the Night School star did not apologize for anything in years past.
“Kevin Hart did put out a Twitter apology after he stepped down from hosting the Oscars… but what about the notion that there were apologies?” Lemon said. “We couldn’t find [an apology]… and if you can find one, feel free to send it our way.”
In an investigation into Hart's past homophobia, Vulture discovered Hart addressed his previous homophobic remarks in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone where he stated he would never make those types of jokes again.
“I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now,” he told Rolling Stone.
Lemon believes Hart has the potential to serve as an agent for change in the Black community. With his large platform, Lemon asked Hart to use his voice to challenge homophobia because a lot of young Black people are dying.
“[DeGeneres] said that she forgives Kevin and that she thinks he should host the Oscars. But honestly, Ellen does not speak for the whole community. We need to speak up for the young, Black people—especially young Black men, kids—in the LGBT community.”
Lemon also cited a statistic saying that 44 percent of homeless LGBTQ youth are Black.
“These issues need to be addressed, especially when it comes to Black youth in our country because they need to know that they have value, and it’s OK to be who they are,” he continued.
In early December, shortly after the resurfaced tweets came about, Lemon offered Hart the opportunity to come on his show to address the controversy. The 39-year-old never responded. But early Saturday, Hart returned Lemon's most recent address with a veiled jab.
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When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge. You can’t change without a understanding of what GROWTH means. #Message #LiveLoveLaugh #HappySaturday .....Please grasp this and use it in 2019
The Academy has yet to find a replacement for Hart. According to Variety, after DeGeneres vouched for Hart, the Oscars are willing to let the comedian back into the fold and host the illustrious ceremony.
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