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NYT Editor Defends Kevin Hart: ‘We Are Setting Standards Nobody Can Meet’

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)
VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images
JOSHUA CAPLAN

New York Times editor Susan Fowler wrote in an opinion-editorial that the ousting of comedian Kevin Hart as host of the Oscars over the resurfacing of his previous gay jokes sets unattainable standards of uprightness and called for the A-lister to be forgiven, citing his heartfelt apology.

“In holding people accountable for their old views — even ones they realized were wrong and apologized for — we are setting standards that nobody can meet,” Fowler wrote of the controversy in a piece published on Friday. “If I do something wrong, I want to have the chance to realize what I’ve done, change my view, correct the mistake and learn from it. I’m pretty sure that every one of you, if put in the hot seat, would want the same.”

“The truth is, we are all guilty. Can you name a person who has not lied, said something inappropriate or hurt another? I can’t,” the editor concluded. “We must be careful about the world we are creating in the age of social media, especially since there’s no turning back.”

In a series of now-deleted tweets sent between 2009-2011, Hart expressed statements some argue were critical of the LGBTQ community. “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,” the Night School star wrote in a since-removed tweet in 2011.

Hart announced early Friday morning via Twitter that he “made the choice to step down” from hosting the 91st Academy Awards amid a firestorm stemming from the old jokes.

“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,” tweeted Hart.“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,” added the Central Intelligence star. “I hope we can meet again.”

GLAAD, the country’s most prominent advocacy group dedicated to supporting gay rights, said last Friday that Hart should not have stepped down as the award show’s host, suggesting the comedian should have instead used the opportunity to raise awareness for their cause.

“Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” GLAAD CEO and president Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement, according to 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.”

“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,” Ellis added.

As of Monday afternoon, organizers for the storied award show have yet to announce a replacement for Hart.

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