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Kevin Hart Oscar Controversy Barely Diminished His Appeal, Survey Suggests

Comedian has 'uncanny ability to recover from scandal'

The end of 2018 may not have been as bad for Kevin Hart as it seemed.

Despite the furor earlier this month over past homophobic tweets that resulted in his exiting his Academy Awards gig, the comedian’s reputation has proved remarkably resilient in the public eye, according to Spotted, a data and research provider focused on the celebrity endorsement space.

Spotted’s “consumer approval” metric, which measures a mix of likability, relatability and trustworthiness among U.S. consumers, measured a rebound of nearly 50% for Hart after he apologized.

It helps that Hart didn’t fall too far in the public’s esteem in the first place, registering an 11.55% drop in the immediate wake of the controversy before he apologized. By way of comparison, the average celebrity involved in a 2018 scandal saw a post-scandal (pre-apology) drop in consumer approval of 13%.

Spotted CEO Janet Comenos credited Hart’s durability to his high ranking prior to the Oscar backlash, in the top 5% of all celebrity talent in terms of consumer approval.

Kevin Hart has an uncanny ability to recover from scandal,” she said. “His ability to quickly rebound is directly correlated to how high he scores in terms of consumer approval, pre-scandal. When a celebrity is so well-liked in the eyes of consumers, just like a mother’s favorite child, they can almost do no wrong.”

Hart’s bounce back is all the more remarkable considering the criticism he received immediately after an Instagram post addressing the controversy was deemed insufficiently contrite. But Comenos believes the public was viewing his behavior in the context of his previous statements on the subject.

“While his first Instagram fumble was perceived by some to be reprehensible, Hart has been unapologetic for years about his the comedic missteps he made earlier in his career,  and his learnings from that era,” said Comenos. “Overall, consumers viewed the choice that he made to instead step down on his own accord, rather than to apologize, as an expected move.”

Spotted data from other past Hart controversies, including an infidelity scandal involving his then-pregnant wife, indicated he typically recovers 2-3 times faster than other A-list stars.

Spotted analyzes millions of data points that benchmark over 20,000 celebrities globally; the sources of Spotted’s data are a combination of publicly available research, monthly consumer perception data collected on consumer approval and celebrity personality assessment (300 respondents per month), post-scandal survey data (300 respondents per scandal), post-apology survey data (300 respondents per apology), social data, sentiment analysis, search traffic and Wikipedia data.

All survey data is collected through globally recognized survey panel Research Now. Before and after the scandal and the apology, perception data is collected that ranks the celebrities in terms of trust, likability, relatability, and more than a dozen other factors, in order to assess the drop in consumer approval after the scandal, after the apology, and longer-term.

Spotted collects perception data across U.S. adults (conforming to a U.S. Census representative sample by age, gender, region and household income).

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