“I chose to pass on the apology,” Hart told fans in an Instagram video. “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times.” He put the ball in The Academy’s court, but an hour later, he tweeted that the was stepping down as host, offering that long-awaited apology in the end. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” Hart wrote. “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.”
With all of that in mind Friday morning, The View’s Joy Behar asked, “How many times does he need to apologize, do you think? Or is he cooked?”
“Sometimes, you’ve got to eat some crow before you get your dream job,” Abby Huntsman said, answering Behar’s question. “My biggest issue was his non-apology apology. Why not use this as a platform to go out there and speak to one of the biggest audiences you have in the year on television?”
With that sentiment, she was echoing a statement put out by GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, who said on Friday, “Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” adding, “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 problem that I have with it, and I think Meghan you agree,” Sunny Hostin said, turning to co-host Meghan McCain, “is this sort of mob mentality that we’re seeing, these forced apologies, you know, everybody jumping on the bandwagon, not allowing people to evolve, not allowing people to own up to things.”
“I think what was so weird to me is he’s apologized for this before,” Hostin continued, “and for the Academy to then force him to apologize again, I don’t understand that. And there has been this mob now, that’s saying, ‘He’s a horrible person, he’s a horrible person,’ and the tweets were despicable. But when is an apology enough?”
Across the board, the hosts seemed to be making the assumption that Hart has apologized, perhaps several times, in the past for making jokes about how he would never want his son to be gay, among other things. As Hart himself said, he has “addressed” it, but he had not, until this week, specifically apologized to the LGBTQ community.
Asked about the jokes in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Hart first explained that the joke is about his own “insecurities and then said, “I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now. I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals, because we can. These things become public spectacles. So why set yourself up for failure?”
Not exactly an apology.
Later in the segment, McCain compared Hart to other figures like MSNBC’s Joy Reid (a former columnist on this website) and comedian Tracy Morgan, who have also expressed homophobic sentiments in the past. Reid apologized on-air for her past blog posts and Morgan publicly apologized for offensive jokes he made at a comedy club in 2011.
“These people need to stop making homophobic remarks, including Kevin Hart,” Behar concluded. “But if you want somebody squeaky clean, you're going to have to get a mime at the Oscars. Because everyone has something, especially comedians.”