Why Kevin Hart’s Mea Culpa Was Too Little, Too Late (Opinion)

Forgive me if this sounds trite or preachy, but the importance of owning up to our mistakes cannot be overstated. Denials, silence, cover-ups, repudiation — all are unacceptable.

Media outlets around the globe, including ours, wrote about how Kevin Hart initially took no responsibility for having posted disgusting homophobic tweets years ago that resurfaced when he was tapped to host the Oscars last week. A day later, he deleted some of his most egregious tweets when they reappeared on the internet.

First of all, given how many times in recent memory high-profile personalities have been called out on social media for offensive tweets that have come back to haunt them, why in the world would Hart have thought that he could get away with his past indiscretions? He should have gotten out in front of the inevitable shit storm, or was he in such a serious state of denial that it didn’t even occur to him?

Note to other public figures who have embarrassing skeletons in their closet: Own up, and own up early. (Our guest column by GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis shows how best to do this.)

In Hart’s case, not only did he not fess up before it was too late, but he then failed twice to publicly apologize to the LGBTQ community and its allies even after his old tweets came to light.

When his handlers told him how upset people were over the fiasco, he defended himself in an Instagram video, saying, “Guys, I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you.” Essentially he wasn’t taking the blame, but shifting it to the public for not getting him.

Making matters worse, he slammed the Motion Picture Academy for giving him an ultimatum to apologize or lose the Oscars gig. The 39-year-old actor-comedian shockingly said in a video, “I chose to pass on the apology … because I’ve addressed this several times.”

Hours later, after more public shaming, he announced on Twitter that he was dropping out as Oscars host. Then he finally apologized. In my book, his concession was a case of too little too late. By not owning up either before the scandal broke or in the immediate aftermath, Hart really blew it.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content