Kevin Hart knows he's made some mistakes in his past, but like many controversies these days, a resurfaced tweet was involved in one of his most memorable snafus. Hart ended up stepping down from hosting the Oscars in 2018, which he had been scheduled to headline, when the homophobic tweets in question ran around. Now, he’s speaking out about his feelings regarding the Internet and cancel culture in general.
To be clear, Kevin Hart isn’t saying the joke that resurfaced back in 2018 was appropriate, but he does have some feelings about cancel culture in general and the level of scrutiny and moral expectations laid on celebrity shoulders. He even has some advice to those on social media who have or have been a part of cancel culture. Let’s break it down. First of all, Hart says no one is perfect, noting,
I think that right now you gotta get to a point where you just become more realistic, right? What I mean by being realistic is nobody is perfect, nobody is going to be. This whole idea of a cancel culture means that you’re living in a time where you’re just expecting perfection as if people don’t slip and fall down the steps.
Speaking to Oprah’s O Magazine, Kevin Hart talked for a while about not knowing any better when he was a young man and making ill-advised jokes online. His story is similar to James Gunn’s, who also made some jokes online prior to becoming famous for Guardians of the Galaxy and its subsequent sequels; in his case, old tweets also later resurfaced. While Hart also mentions that sometimes behavior online can be abhorrent and sometimes there needs to be ramifications, he also believes there are a lot of grey areas and teachable moments than many people on the Internet are willing to have patience for.
Kevin Hart also says that cancel culture and the scrutiny involved in it is not something he realized he was signing up for when he worked toward gaining momentum in his entertainment career. It actually kind of reminds me of something Michael Jordan said during The Last Dance about setting examples based on his own values, but not wanting to be seen as a role model. Anyway, according to Hart:
It’s weird to really hold people at a level that they never asked to be held at. You gotta learn to act accordingly. You gotta learn to carry yourself in a professional and respectful manner. That’s things that are discovered in life. If babies came out with all the knowledge, then what’s the point of going from age 1-21?... You can’t hold me accountable for my childish behavior at 21, now I’m an adult. Well from 21-30 now I’m a young adult. Well I didn’t know what life was going to be as an old adult, so I messed up. We can’t be so persistent with the search and find and destroy.
Cancel culture has come up a lot in recent years, particularly as the Internet has evolved and websites like Twitter have become more popular. However, Kevin Hart did change from the experience. He bowed out of the Oscars that year, he changed his stance and apologized, and he says he's grown since.
It’s OK to fall. It’s OK to not be perfect. It’s OK to not get it right. It’s OK. The thing about making mistakes is embracing it and being willing to grow from it. And if you are that person and you are willing to grow from it then nine times out of 10 you’re going to better off in the long run.
This isn’t the only incident that allowed Kevin Hart to gain perspective. He publicly was involved with a cheating scandal and had to face the ramifications of that after he became famous. His wife Eniko Parrish and Hart worked it out and now they are having a second kid together. He also dealt with a major car accident and months of rehab after getting in a harrowing accident in which he and passengers were allegedly not wearing seatbelts.
You live in the public eye for long enough and it’s hard to be perfect, but what’s been interesting has been watching Kevin Hart handles the public scrutiny and moments like these when they’ve come to light.