GLAAD CEO: Kevin Hart Should Not Have Quit as Oscars Host

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 08: Actor Kevin Hart attends the 2016 GQ Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont on December 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)
Jesse Grant/Getty Images

GLAAD, the country’s largest advocacy organization dedicated to defending the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, said Friday that actor-comedian Kevin Hart should not have quit as host of the Oscars, arguing the A-lister should have instead used his platform to promote unity.

“Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told TheWrap. “Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness.”

Despite Hart’s previous comments about the LGBTQ community, Ellis told the outlet that she would welcome a “conversation with him.”

“The Academy has recently made significant strides in featuring diverse talent onstage and they should now double down on that commitment as they look for a new host,” the advocacy executive added.

Hart announced early Friday morning that he “made the choice to step down” from hosting the 91st Academy Awards after a backlash erupted over the comedian’s prior quips about members of the LGBTQ community. “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,” Hart wrote on Twitter. “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,” the Jumanji star added. “I hope we can meet again.”

As the Associated Press reported:

Hart has since deleted some of the anti-gay tweets, mostly dated from 2009-2011. But they had already been screen-captured and been shared online. In 2011, he wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ’stop that’s gay.”

Hart’s attitudes about homosexuality were also a well-known part of his stand-up act. In the 2010 special Seriously Funny, he said “one of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay.”

“Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, do what you want to do, but me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will,” Hart said.

While Ellis has taken a conciliatory position on Hart’s old jokes, GLAAD board member Anthony Watson demanded the comedian be fired from the hosting gig.

“I’m sick and tired of homophobes who are called out for their vile behavior and instead of apologizing they make light of what is an incredibly dangerous situation,” Watson said in a fiery statement. “Literally hundreds of LGBT people around the world are murdered for who they are. Kevin Hart’s lack of an apology and lack of understanding speak volumes, in particular his condoning violence against his own children should they be blessed with being gay.”

Press representatives for the Academy did not respond to a request for comment from TheWrap regarding Ellis’s remarks.

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