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Kevin Hart and Forgiveness

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Kevin Hart and Forgiveness

Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after accusations of homophobia.

Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after accusations of homophobia.

Lara Garay

Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after accusations of homophobia.

Lara Garay

Lara Garay

Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after accusations of homophobia.

Josie O'Toole, Contributing Writer

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On March 3rd, for the first time since 1969, The Oscars awards ceremony was not led by an official host. Hollywood’s golden night was originally supposed to run normally, just as last year, but was forced to scramble to try and adapt when their scheduled host, Kevin Hart, stepped down from the role just one day after accepting it. The reason for his turnaround involved homophobic comments during stand-up routines along with posts on social media about ten years ago. Outburst from viewers and followers led to the Academy forcing Hart to choose between publicly apologizing for the comments or stepping down as the host, probably imagining the possible backlash they would get for hosting a named homophobe by the audience. Kevin Hart chose both.

Before a final apology to the internet, Hart had some angrier messages which led to more outrage. He stated  that he didn’t know what to say if someone didn’t believe that people changed and evolved as they grew older. He is not the right guy if people are holding others in a position in which they always have to justify the past.

Finally, on Twitter, Hart announced he had made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars. He did not want to be a distraction on a night he acknowledged should be celebrated by many amazing and talented artists. After apologizing to the LGBTQ+ community for the insensitive words from his past and the people he hurt, he said he is evolving and wants to continue to do so, reinforcing his original claim.

Hart has many good points. Why should mistakes from his youth prevent him from hosting the Oscars now, in 2019? It was extremely mature and astonishing that he stepped down from hosting, recognizing the importance and value of the Oscars, celebrated by many, and how he would be affecting that celebration.

Most importantly, he stepped down because he does not believe he owes his far past another apology. It is one thing if someone denies their past, but another thing completely if they acknowledge, apologize and already become a better, new, mature person ten years later. Hart is asking, if everyone else on the internet is unable to forgive him for past mistakes after he apologized, what more can he do? What can anybody do? On top of that, Hart has shown how he has matured and not made the same mistake—which, of course, is what we all hope everybody does afterwards regardless.

The intense trial last September with Brett Kavanaugh for accounts of him from his far past raises similar questions. Although completely theoretical, imagine a situation where Kavanaugh was not in denial—where he confessed and apologized. How would people respond? Would people forgive him? If it were a similar situation to Hart, and we believed he was a better person, would things be different? Can people now, at this time, with the everlasting internet, ever be forgiven from their past after ten years? What would it take? To some extent, it all depends on who that person has become. Have they proven to be the better person they say they are?

It is unjust to prevent someone like Hart from trying to accomplish something great for offensive comments from ten years ago. Especially ones he has apologized many times for.

 

This piece also appears in our March 2019 print edition.

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Kevin Hart and Forgiveness