What You Need to Know About Kevin Hart's Oscars Controversy

Kevin Hart has been dominating the news cycle for all the wrong reasons thanks to a series of homophobic tweets he sent out in the late aughts. The tweets—and Kevin’s initial refusal to apologize for them—resulted in the comedian stepping down as host of the 2019 Oscars, and many of his subsequent statements only added fuel to an already iffy fire. Here’s a timeline of everything that’s gone down, starting with Kevin’s tweets.

2009-2010

Kevin posts a series of homophobic tweets that are really, really awful:

I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets 🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/ZbYG6SI3Xm

December 4, 2018

Kevin is announced as host of the Oscars and everyone seems pretty pumped.

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For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same…I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time….To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time….I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one. I appreciate the @TheAcademy for the opportunity ….now it’s time to rise to the occasion #Oscars

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

December 6, 2018

As Kevin’s unearthed tweets begin to go viral, he reveals that the Academy gave him an ultimatum: Apologize or give up his hosting gig. He refuses to say sorry, instead issuing the following ill-advised statement via Instagram:

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I know who I am & so do the people closest to me. #LiveLoveLaugh

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

December 7, 2018

Backlash ensues, so Kevin steps down from his hosting gig and issues a formal apology on Twitter, writing, “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past. I’m sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”

I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.

I’m sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.

January 4, 2019

Kevin shows up on TV for a chat with Ellen, who defends him against “trolls” and says, “They’re gonna win if you don’t host the Oscars. You can’t let them destroy you and they can’t destroy you because you have too much talent.”

Ellen also says she called the Academy to see if Kevin could still host the awards, and she seemed to think the answer was a hard yes.

I had an incredible and honest conversation with @KevinHart4real about hosting the #Oscars. It was supposed to air on Monday. I don’t want you to have to wait, so now it’s gonna air tomorrow.

However you feel about this, the only positive way through it is to talk about it. Thank you for being here, @KevinHart4real. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/FVKZ6FIQAx

Later in the Day…

Ellen’s comments are met with major backlash by people on Twitter who don’t think she’s the arbiter of right and wrong in this situation:

The only thing @KevinHart4real proved by going on Ellen was that he is a terrible actor with zero genuine remorse who didn’t have the decency to address his ignorance. No, they weren’t “haters” who came after you. It was the LGBTQI+ community because we’re sick to shit of it.

I also believe in forgiveness. But I also believe that forgiveness requires an actual apology. Not “I’m sorry people are so sensitive.” Just “I am sorry.” All he had to do. And he indignantly refused because he felt his moment was being tainted. That he was the aggrieved.

Why didn’t you bring Black gay men, the ones who the comments were about, on the show? How do you, a white woman (@TheEllenShow), decide who gets to receive an apology where you were never the target of the comments? Y’all have got to start using privilege correctly. https://t.co/Ssr1aUNXJP

ok i finally watched this and i am floored at the bullshit that Ellen let him spout uninterrupted. He’s concocting an alternative history here and Ellen didn’t challenge him on the facts one bit. let me explain… https://t.co/r92LOMsy6O

daily reminder that Ellen Degeneres doesn’t represent and speak on behalf of the entire LGBTQ+ community and her giving kevin hart a platform to spout out a lengthy monologue in which he victimizes HIMSELF is complete trash

Meanwhile, multiple op-eds are published, including The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kris Rehl who wrote, “I was shocked to see Ellen throw her weight behind his self-victimization.” On top of that, Don Lemon criticizes both Ellen and Kevin on his CNN show, saying of the latter, “I don’t see any meaningful outreach to the LGBT community. Apologizing and moving on does not make the world a better place for people who are gay or who are transgender. Being an ally does.”

January 5, 2019

Kevin hits Instagram to defend himself after backlash over his Ellen appearance, saying, “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.”

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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

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

Meanwhile, Deadline reports that Kevin no longer wants to host the Oscars, despite Ellen’s plea, with sources revealing that the “situation is still fluid and he could possibly change his mind,” but “this looks like his final answer.”

January 7, 2019

Kevin Hart issues another formal apology, this time on his radio show, saying, “We thought it was okay to talk like that, because that’s how we talked to one another … This is wrong now. Because now we’re in a space where I’m around people of the LGBTQ community, and I’m now aware of how these words make them feel, and why they say ‘That shit hurt because of what I’ve been through.'”

He also explains that he’s changed, clarifying, “The fight is the will and want for equality. I’m riding with you guys. I understand you. But in the fight for equality, that means that there has to be an acceptance for change. If you don’t want to accept people for their change, then where are you trying to get to the equal part? Where does the equality part come in?”

January 9, 2019

Kevin stopped by Good Morning America and pretty much said “thank u, next” to the whole controversy. “I’m over it. There’s no more conversation about it,” said the actor. “I’m not giving no more explanation of who I am. I’m just done.” He also confirmed that he won’t host this year’s Oscars, in part because it’s now simply too late to prepare. He concluded, “I don’t want people to think there’s a thing about me and the Academy.” So, there you have it, folks!

January 30, 2019

The Oscars still don’t have a host (and probably won’t, at this point) and Kevin found himself in the middle of the same controversy all over again.

When Empire actor Jussie Smollett was attacked in Chicago by people “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs,” Kevin sent his thoughts via social media. Writer Ira Madison was not having it, and called him out what he felt like was a hypocritical statement.

your funniest joke congrats https://t.co/N3JqxaSJMl

And Kevin replied with this:

I stand with a man in his time of hurt and need by giving him heart felt 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. Do you want change? If so I am an example of what u want people to do…CHANGE! https://t.co/Ybbo8OYKTt

February 6, 2019

The Academy decides to ditch the idea of even having a host, saying the show will “just have presenters.” Meanwhile, The Rock trolls Kevin Hart by saying he was The Academy’s first choice to host the Oscars:

Ah mahalo dude, I was their first choice to host this year, and my goal was to make it the most fun and entertaining Oscars ever. We all tried hard, but couldn’t make it work since I’m shooting Jumanji. Academy and I were super bummed but maybe one day down the road 🥃 https://t.co/eiiMuBNOzb

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