A newly-released survey shows the favorability of comedian and A-lister Kevin Hart remains largely intact following his ouster as host of the 2019 Academy Awards over resurfaced homophobic wisecracks.
As first reported by Variety, Spotted, a research and analytics company specializing in celebrity data, released a survey showing Hart’s “consumer approval” metric, which combines the “likability, relatability, and trustworthiness among U.S. consumers” recuperated 50% following the Central Intelligence star’s apology for the jokes.
Variety‘s co-editor-in-chief, Andrew Wallenstein, writes:
It helps that Hart didn’t fall too far in the public’s esteem in the first place, registering an 11.55% drop in the immediate wake of the controversy before he apologized. By way of comparison, the average celebrity involved in a 2018 scandal saw a post-scandal (pre-apology) drop in consumer approval of 13%.
Spotted data from other past Hart controversies, including an infidelity scandal involving his then-pregnant wife, indicated he typically recovers 2-3 times faster than other A-list stars.
Spotted analyzes millions of data points that benchmark over 20,000 celebrities globally; the sources of Spotted’s data are a combination of publicly available research, monthly consumer perception data collected on consumer approval and celebrity personality assessment (300 respondents per month), post-scandal survey data (300 respondents per scandal), post-apology survey data (300 respondents per apology), social data, sentiment analysis, search traffic and Wikipedia data.
Spotted CEO Janet Comenos cited Hart’s high “consumer approval” ranking, which measured in the top five-percent among celebrities before the controversy, for the comeback.
“Kevin Hart has an uncanny ability to recover from scandal,”Comenos said. “His ability to quickly rebound is directly correlated to how high he scores in terms of consumer approval, pre-scandal. When a celebrity is so well-liked in the eyes of consumers, just like a mother’s favorite child, they can almost do no wrong.”
“While his first Instagram fumble was perceived by some to be reprehensible, Hart has been unapologetic for years about his the comedic missteps he made earlier in his career, and his learnings from that era,” she added. “Overall, consumers viewed the choice that he made to instead step down on his own accord, rather than to apologize, as an expected move.”
The Oscars have a longstanding host problem, but Hart’s swift firing over old anti-gay quips has led to bigger questions about the gig and the liability of social media histories.
It’s just the latest controversy for the organization that puts on the Academy Awards, which is trying to combat declining ratings for its marquee event while weathering the pressure of being a focal point for the shortcomings of the entertainment industry as a whole.
Immediately after Hart was confirmed as the show’s host, some journalists began tweeting reminders of Hart’s past comments. By Thursday morning, a few publications had written articles about them. The outrage escalated, Hart commented but did not apologize, stoking even more outrage, which culminated with Hart’s announcement that he was stepping down as host of the 91st Academy Awards.
As the dust has settled, the situation has proved vexing for some in the entertainment business. Actor D.L. Hughley commended Hart for his decision.
“A Comedian says something that offends people and refuses to apologize?” Hughley tweeted. ”(Expletive) ’em if they can’t take a joke! Well done #KevinHart.” Snoop Dogg posted an even more colorful Instagram video in support of Hart.
The advocacy organization GLAAD wishes Hart hadn’t stepped down, however.
“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,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has yet to address Hart’s departure and is reportedly considering a host-less program. Hart said the film academy told him he had to apologize or he would lose the gig. On December 7, he bowed out on his own, issuing an apology to his millions of Twitter followers.
“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 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. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy,” the Night School star added. “I hope we can meet again.”
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.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
The Associated Press contributed to this report.