Trans actor MJ Rodriguez defended comedian Kevin Hart before he stepped down as host of the 2019 Oscars on Thursday over past jokes about gay people, describing him as a “wonderful host” and calling on people to forgive him.
“That’s a hard topic for me because I’m a big fan of Kevin Hart and I know that he probably didn’t mean any malice by it but I mean I think an apology is due if it hasn’t been given before,” Rodriguez said in an interview with Variety about the controversy. “I think maybe it would be something nice. And if he doesn’t, I don’t think we should hold him accountable, I think we should just remember and forgive him.”
Before the event on Thursday, Hart posted a video on Instagram explaining he would not apologize for his previous remarks
“The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times,” he said. “This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it.”
Rodriguez, meanwhile, maintained that she would not hold his initial refusal to apologize against him.
“I’m not gonna hold that against him, I think he’s a wonderful host,” the Pose star said. “I don’t think he should be obligated or anything should be held against him for the past decisions he’s made. We have to all be open with our hearts you know?”
However, Hart eventually opted to apologize and step down from the event, arguing he did not want to serve as a “distraction” from the ceremony itself.
“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,” he tweeted. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
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.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
“I’m sorry that I hurt people. I am evolving and want to continue to do so,” he added. “My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”