Kevin Hart talks cancel culture following his 2019 Oscars hosting scandal: ‘It’s about growth’

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Kevin Hart spoke out against cancel culture, highlighting his own experience in getting backlash for past material. 

Hart previously stepped down as host of the Oscars in 2019 after old tweets and stand-up bits came under renewed scrutiny. He had already apologized for the content years prior and issued another apology at the time. However, he ultimately decided to step down as host on principle. 

Speaking to The Sunday Times to promote his upcoming movie, “Fatherhood,” Hart was asked directly about the growing tide of cancel culture, noting that he isn’t bothered by the incident because he simply doesn’t allow it to bother him.

“If people want to pull up stuff, go back to the same tweets of old, go ahead,” he said. “There is nothing I can do. You’re looking at a younger version of myself. A comedian trying to be funny and, at that attempt, failing. Apologies were made. I understand now how it comes off. I look back and cringe. So it’s growth. It’s about growth.”

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Hart made sure to note that people who have done something truly damaging to others should be held accountable and face consequences. However, he doesn’t believe that’s always the case when it comes to cancel culture, specifically in his situation.

Kevin Hart discussed his past Oscars hosting controversy. 

Kevin Hart discussed his past Oscars hosting controversy. 
(Alberto Rodriguez/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank)

“When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time? I don’t understand,” He continued. “I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from f—ing up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t f—ed up or done some dumb sh–.”

Hart likened the situation many comedians are facing to someone getting out of jail to find that public scrutiny has extended their punishment far beyond what any judge ordered.

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“People get locked up so they can be taught a lesson,” he explained. “When they get out, they are supposed to be better. But if they come out and people go, ‘I’m not giving you a job because you were in jail’ then what the f— did I go to jail for? That was my punishment? How do you not give those people a shot? They’re saying that all life should be over because of a mistake? Your life should end and there should be no opportunity to change? What are you talking about?” 

Hart echoed sentiments previously made by Chris Rock, who noted that a comedian’s job is to make people laugh and that an audience’s negative reaction is punishment enough for a failed joke.

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Kevin Hart spoke out against cancel culture.

Kevin Hart spoke out against cancel culture.
(Getty)

“You’re not saying something to make people angry. That’s not why I’m on stage,” Hart explained. “I’m trying to make you laugh and if I did not make you laugh I failed. That’s my consequence.”

The star concluded his thoughts on cancel culture by suggesting more people disagree rather than call for each other’s permanent deletion from show business.

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“If there’s a message to take from anything I’ve said,” he ended. “It’s that in this world of opinion, it’s OK to just disagree. It’s OK to not like what someone did and to say that person wasn’t for me. We are so caught up in everybody feeling like they have to be right and their way is the only way. Politics is f—ed up because, if you don’t choose our side, you’re dumb.”

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