- Actor and comedian Kevin Hart defended himself in a “Fresh Air” interview with Terry Gross, saying that anti-gay jokes he made 10 years ago were nothing more than jokes.
- Despite apologizing, Hart said that people who were offended by the jokes chose to interpret them that way.
- Hart has made direct apologies for his past statements numerous times.
Actor and comedian Kevin Hart has said that he’s done talking about previous anti-gay jokes and statements that cost him a spot hosting the 2019 Oscars. However, in Thursday’s episode of “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, he defensively explained his actions away, saying that those who were offended by his assertion that he would prevent his child from being gay if he could were choosing to be offended and twisting his intent.
The comments once again bring Hart’s sincerity into light after he has repeatedly attempted to shut down conversations on the topic.
Following criticism of Ellen DeGeneres’ interview of Hart, which many said gave him a platform to excuse himself without taking any critical or probing questions, Gross made a point to get the heart of Hart’s past statements.
In one section, Gross asked what Hart was afraid of when he said one of his “biggest fears” was his “son growing up and being gay.”
“I think that’s taking a joking and putting a context that you’re determining it should be on it,” Hart responded. “The joke was made with light intentions. It’s not that deep-rooted, but because of the time of today, people look at it, and they dissect it.”
Hart claimed that he was using the statement to segue into a story about preventing his son from playing with another boy.
“And then I say, but as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I would. It’s a joke,” he explains. “It’s called a segue. The segue was to get into the joke about something that really happened at a party where my son was playing, and there was another boy playing with him. And I was like, hey, all right, that’s enough of that.”
“But because times today are so sensitive,” he continued, “we forget the jokes are made with the intensive purpose of making people laugh, not to hurt. That’s not the purpose behind the joke.”
Hart went on to blame the offense that some took to the jokes and the controversy around them on the listener. saying, “To me, when I did it, I thought that it would be funny. So if people choose to take offense to something, then that’s a choice.”
Hart, who told Gross what his kids grow up to be, said that ultimately, he believes that his controversy represents a shift in comedy. “We’ve lost the thought that comedians try to be edgy and funny,” he told Gross. “That’s what comedians do. That’s not me justifying it – that’s me trying to make people have the common-sense side of it, see the reality of what a comedian’s attempt is behind the job.”
Hart has repeatedly insisted that he apologized for the jokes. In 2015, Hart told Rolling Stone that he wouldn’t tell the jokes from 7 years before because “times weren’t as sensitive as they are now.”
After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked Hart to publicly apologize ahead of the 2019 Oscars, he refused and stepped down as host. “This is not the first time this has come up,” he said in a statement. “I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it.”
On December 7, 2018, Hart gave a direct apology on Twitter, writing, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.” He reiterated the statement on a January 7, 2019 episode of his SiriusXM show.
He reiterated that the apology was sincere on “Fresh Air.”
“My apology was sincere when it was given, and I made it sincere when I gave it again, and my effort after that, when I gave another one, was just as sincere,” Hart said. “But it just seemed as if it was a never-ending cycle. So I chose to just shut it down and say that I’m done with it, and move on from it.”