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Ellen Degeneres urges Kevin Hart to host Oscars

Ellen DeGeneres is supporting actor and comedian Kevin Hart after he stepped down from hosting the Oscars following a backlash over past homophobic tweets.

Posted: Jan 5, 2019 10:58 AM
Updated: Jan 5, 2019 10:58 AM

It hasn't been a great couple of weeks in the press for comedian Kevin Hart. Last week, he and his wife were slammed and accused of racism on social media for a cowboys and Indians-themed birthday party for his son, which he refused to apologize for.

Now he is in another media firestorm after his homophobic tweets resurfaced when it was announced he was hosting the Academy Awards. According to Hart, in an Instagram video he posted, the Academy asked him to apologize after the backlash (no word on why there wasn't a demand for him to apologize for the offensive "cowboys and Indians" party or his unfunny 2010 joke about darker skinned black women).

Hart refused to apologize because he claimed he already "addressed" the tweets years ago (although he appears to believe saying people are "too sensitive" is an apology). Hart also complained that people were being negative by holding him accountable. Hart stepped down from the Oscar hosting gig -- then bizarrely apologized after he said he wouldn't.

Here is what comedians who get in trouble need to understand: You can't "punch down." Skinny people cannot crack jokes about overweight people. Rich people cannot mock poor people. White comedians cannot make black people the butt of their jokes. Straight men cannot joke about assaulting gay men. And if anyone dares go down this lane, the joke must be so hilarious that even the community who is being insulted will laugh out loud. There are very few comedians who have that gift.

Hart has been trending on social media for several hours and now he has been defended by conservatives who shout things like, "People are too sensitive!" Sadly, Hart is being used as political fodder, because certain folks want to whine that asking someone to be held accountable for offensive language is an attack from a "leftist mob" or the PC police.

They want an excuse to defend, for example, a sitting senator who "jokes" about a "public hanging" and is still elected a senator of Mississippi. A man running for governor can caution voters not to vote for his black opponent, lest they "monkey this up" -- and still be elected governor of Florida. Our sitting President can insult countless people, even deceased war heroes, and still have a high approval rating among his own party. Therefore, their outrage is selective and partisan.

In reality, we aren't more "sensitive." People -- including celebrities and politicians -- constantly get away with verbal murder, winning elections or even evading accusations of sexual assault, and their careers are unscathed.

Hart has more class than Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Florida Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis and our current President. Personally, I wish he hadn't resigned and that GLAAD, a major LGBTQ advocacy organization, did not want him to bow out. Hart could have engaged in a teachable moment and probably cracked some good jokes about the incident in his opening monologue. Furthermore, the Academy Awards should have done its research before giving Hart the gig; these jokes were well known.

That said, no one should shed a tear for the comedian. Kevin Hart is unaffected and safe. He is a rich celebrity who has several sources of income; he will not suffer. Not hosting the Academy Awards will not affect his life. He will thrive.

As for his actual comments, among the many tweets that resurfaced is one from 2011 that read, "Yo if my son comes home & try's 2 play with my daughters (sic) doll house I'm going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice 'stop that's gay.'" As someone who grew up with an extremely abusive homophobic father, I know firsthand this isn't funny, it's triggering. But maybe I am too sensitive...

In another tweet, Hart wrote that an actor had an avatar that looked like "a gay billboard for AIDS." I'm not sure when HIV/AIDS jokes became funny, but it's hard for me to chuckle when I have been at the bedside of someone dying of HIV-related diseases. But maybe I am too sensitive...

For most of his career, Hart has framed himself as a non-political, safe comedian who actively avoided race and politics in his comedy (until he recently told Trump to "suck it," which people on the right who are advocating for him now should consider before praising him). I like my comedy political and edgy, and these tweets weren't edgy or funny. That said, it's interesting Hart has avoided race in his work, but had no issue talking about LGBTQ folks, even though that is a community he apparently knows nothing about.

Kevin Hart owes his success to black audiences, and considering how many LGBTQ people are black, the Philadelphia native should certainly do better. A message for Hart and for all of us: What you find funny and what you believe people are "too sensitive" about speaks volumes about your character.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97049

Reported Deaths: 2921
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7151160
DeSoto565061
Harrison388874
Jackson352770
Madison331489
Rankin331179
Lee276470
Forrest250976
Jones250479
Washington225977
Lafayette219840
Lauderdale2065125
Bolivar184966
Oktibbeha180252
Lamar172836
Lowndes158158
Neshoba1581104
Panola151031
Sunflower148046
Leflore141781
Warren140950
Pontotoc128216
Pike124251
Monroe123969
Copiah119333
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall111517
Lincoln111453
Holmes110059
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104846
Tate101138
Union99924
Leake96238
Adams94337
Wayne90821
Pearl River89653
Marion86935
Prentiss86517
Itawamba83521
Alcorn82711
Covington82723
George78313
Tallahatchie77621
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69438
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67317
Attala67125
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59818
Hancock59022
Jasper57815
Noxubee55516
Smith53815
Calhoun52412
Tunica49915
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43714
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38617
Quitman3805
Humphreys37815
Stone37612
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33510
Carroll32112
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2293
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136549

Reported Deaths: 2378
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19833350
Mobile13471292
Montgomery8865184
Tuscaloosa8744118
Madison797878
Shelby604349
Lee594560
Baldwin558850
Marshall396743
Calhoun354844
Etowah354045
Morgan332728
Houston293521
Elmore269148
DeKalb243521
St. Clair234036
Walker233084
Talladega217729
Limestone213520
Cullman191120
Dallas179326
Franklin179029
Autauga178525
Russell17653
Lauderdale174033
Colbert167526
Blount161815
Escambia161424
Chilton159330
Jackson158911
Covington140327
Dale139944
Coffee13656
Pike120510
Chambers117242
Tallapoosa116685
Clarke110416
Marion97129
Butler91439
Barbour8867
Winston74512
Marengo72620
Pickens66814
Randolph66013
Bibb65710
Lowndes65727
Hale64928
Geneva6384
Lawrence62823
Cherokee61413
Bullock60714
Clay5928
Monroe5908
Washington56113
Crenshaw54232
Perry5426
Conecuh53711
Wilcox53211
Henry5085
Macon48318
Fayette4678
Sumter43819
Cleburne3895
Lamar3772
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
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