Kevin Hart, Having Been Canceled for Homophobic Jokes, Now Decries 'Cancel Culture'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday June 16, 2021

In this April 4, 2019, file photo, Kevin Hart poses for photos at the Big Screen Achievement Awards at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
In this April 4, 2019, file photo, Kevin Hart poses for photos at the Big Screen Achievement Awards at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.  (Source:Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Comedian Kevin Hart gave an interview with the Sunday Times in which he denounced cancel culture. (Story is behind a paywall.)

As CNN recalled, Hart has been canceled himself, having had to step down from hosting the Oscars in 2018 after an outcry over his history of making homophobic jokes and posts.

The actor touched on the topic while promoting his new film, "Fatherhood," with the Times, claiming that being canceled "never bothered" him but wasted no time to attack the idea itself.

"If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached," Hart said, according to The Grio, "but when you just talk about... nonsense? When you're talking, 'Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!' Shut the f*** up! What are you talking about?"

Hart told the Times that his comedy has changed as a result of the culture increasingly holding public figures accountable for their words and actions.

"I can't be the comic today that I was when I got into this," he said. "Somehow, we forgot comedians are going for the laugh.... I'm trying to make you laugh and if I did not make you laugh I failed. That's my consequence."

Hart then raised the question: "When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time?"

"I don't expect perfection from my kids. I don't expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from f***ing up," he continued. "I don't know a kid who hasn't f***ed up or done some dumb shit."

Of course, jokes about how he would react if his own son were to come out as gay were part of what sparked objections to his taking the Oscars gig in the first place.

"One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay," Hart joked in the 2010 comedy special "Seriously Funny," as EDGE previously reported. Proclaiming himself "not homophobic," Hart went on to say that, "as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will... Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you've got to nip it in the bud!"

Hart also sought laughs in the special by saying that whenever he saw his son displaying "homosexual tendencies," he would tell the child, only three years old at the time: "Stop, that's gay!"

Critics pointed to those gags as well as Hart's past social media posts from around the same time. Those comments, as CNN detailed, "included derogatory language referring to gay people and made disparaging comments about sexuality." Critics also lambasted Hart for reports of his alleged infidelity and purported domestic violence.

Hart drew more criticism in 2019 over his controversial exchange with out rapper Lil Nas X. At that time, Hart questioned the "Old Town Road" singer's reluctance to come out as gay before achieving a certain level of success.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.