Kevin Hart in Jumanji

Over the last couple of years especially, a great deal has been made about something that is commonly referred to as "cancel culture." While not everybody means quite the same thing when talking about it, we've seen many more people called to account for past transgressions. In some cases, people who have remained silent for years about events they have experienced have come forward to accuse power people of terrible crimes. In others we've seen people who have said inflammatory things also called out, and it sometimes results in jobs being lost. That's what happened to Kevin Hart when he was set to host the Academy Awards.

In late 2018 Kevin Hart was announced as the host of the 2019 Oscars, when some old tweets resurfaced that showed the comedian and actor using homophobic language. Ultimately Hart stepped down as host of the show, the Academy Awards haven't had a dedicated host since. And Hart was seemingly upset by the entire ordeal. Speaking with The Times in the UK, Hart now says that he draws a distinction between words and deeds. He accepts that people should see consequences for bad acts, but thinks that seeing the same punishment for things that have been said, or have been accused of having said, is going too far. According to the Jumanji star...

If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached. But when you just talk about… nonsense? When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the fuck up! What are you talking about?

We've seen many public fvigures, from Kevin Hart to director James Gunn, lose positions based on things they've said on Twitter. But Hart's larger point seems to be that he feels people should be allowed to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. In both the cases of he and Gunn, the public figures had previously apologized for their words prior to losing jobs. Kevin Hart isn't defending what he said, simply arguing he should be able to screw up as that's the way we all learn. Hart continues...

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. 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 fucking up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t fucked up or done some dumb shit.

Certainly, anybody who has kids knows that mistakes is usually how we try to teach them. You often have to screw up in order to discover what the right choice was. Kevin Hart seemingly feels that this should not change as we get older. Even as adults we make mistakes, and should be given an opportunity to learn from them. In the end, for better or worse, Kevin Hart says that he doesn't take being "canceled" personally...

I’ve been canceled, what, three or four times? Never bothered. If you allow it to have an effect on you, it will. Personally? That’s not how I operate.

The Times points out that Kevin Hart is the most successful stand-up comedian working today, so the issues certainly haven't impacted his career to a large degree. And if he truly does learn from his previous mistakes and does not make them in the future, then odds are most people will be ok with that.

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