Kevin Hart Pushes Back Against Cancel Culture: ‘We’re Letting People Control and Dictate the Start and Finish of Peoples’ Lives’

Kevin Hart arrives on the red carpet for the 87th Oscars on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Kevin Hart knows what it feels like to be “cancelled.” The actor-comedian was invited to host the Oscars two years ago but was forced to step down before the job even began after the media dug through his old tweets and accused him of homophobia. Now Hart is hitting back at cancel culture’s practitioners, saying they leave no room for growth or redemption.

“We’re letting people control and dictate the start and finish of people’s lives,” Hart said in an interview with Deadline. “If people [have done something] wrong, the idea of canceling those people, and ending whatever career or thing they have…If it’s just over, then what’s the teachable moment for them? What, it’s over, and then you can’t do nothing else for the rest of your life, because you made a mistake?”

Kevin Hart spoke to Deadline to promote his Emmy chances for his Netflix special Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up. But the lengthy conversation turned toward more controversial subjects including cancel culture and his friend Ellen DeGeneres, who is facing her own cancel mob.

Hart said that cancel culture doesn’t allow people to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes.

What happened to the days of making a mistake, learning from the mistake, not doing that, and educating others on what not to do because of your mistakes? Isn’t that parenting? Isn’t that the world of raising a kid? How do you know what to tell your kid to do or not to do? You have to be in a position of experience to say, “Don’t touch that stove because it’s hot,” because you touched it when it was hot. I can’t give you that lesson if I don’t have the experience. “Hey, in the corporate world, this is how you move and maneuver, and you make sure you do it accordingly. You make sure that you treat every woman with respect. You make sure that you do not act a certain way in this and that,” and it’s based off of what? Knowledge, experience. It’s based off of growth. It’s based off understanding.

Hart is the latest comedian to publicly denounce cancel culture. Fellow funny men Ricky Gervais, Dave Chappelle, John Cleese, and Eddie Murphy have all spoken out against the left-wing phenomenon.

The comedian also struck an apologetic note when asked about the Oscars dust-up from 2018. “I think that my cockiness got in the way,” he said, referring to his initial refusal to apologize and bow to the cancel mob. “I think that my apology for my past remarks would’ve come sooner, instead of me thinking that people still had the wrong idea.”

He added: ” My growth and progression, after mishap and mistake, is one that’s on display as well, but I think here, what helped me was just being vulnerable and real.”

Hart also defended his friend Ellen DeGeneres, whose long-running daytime talk show has come under fire from former employees who alleged a toxic work culture where some were sexually harassed and assaulted. He also defended Nick Cannon, who was recently fired by ViacomCBS for making anti-semitic comments.

“Well, I don’t lose sight of the definition of friendship, and in our business, it’s one thing that people don’t really hold on to,” he said. “When it comes to Nick, and it comes Ellen, I know who they are, and I know who they’ve been for the years that I’ve been around them, and I can only speak to that. Those are two of the most amazing people that I know.”

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