After watching Kevin Hart’s appearance on Ellen on Friday, I’m not sure if he should host the Oscars, but I am sure about one thing: for someone who uses social media as prolifically as he does, he really doesn’t know how the Internet works. He is astounded by how much effort someone put in to dig up something he tweeted eight years ago. But if you know what tweet you’re looking for, it takes about five seconds to locate it. Hart seems to think it’s like finding a needle in a haystack, but when you can ask your favorite digital assistant to find that needle for you, it’s not as difficult as it’s historically been.

I’ll be generous and give Kevin Hart the benefit of the doubt and believe that he really has changed and that he is sincerely sorry for his past homophobic remarks. His apologies have perhaps left something to be desired, but maybe he is having trouble expressing himself (otherwise-decent people often do when asked to atone for their mistakes). The trouble is that he is misunderstanding the context. He has framed himself the victim, thinking that trolls are out to ruin his career. But most of the coverage I’ve seen in response to him being offered the Oscar hosting gig has been LGBTQ people and their allies expressing concern, not vindictiveness. Hart may be frustrated that he is being asked to apologize for something he’s already apologized for, but there are probably people who never heard his original apology in the first place (or found it lacking).

Hart is encouraging people to move on, which is a good idea, so long as the correct lessons have been learned. It looks likely that Hart has decided for good not to host.He is worried that his presence will be a distraction, but there could’ve been (and still could be!) an opportunity for him to change the narrative. Don’t ignore the controversy: address it, and then move into a more celebratory, more inclusive direction. If Hart somehow changes his mind again, he could spend part of his opening monologue spotlighting notable queer films of the past year, invite up-and-coming queer filmmakers to be presenters, and donate part of the money he makes from the gig to LGBTQ-focused charities. Marginalized people could always use more allies and cheerleaders.

Advertisements