Comedian Kevin Hart has apparently declined hosting the 2019 Oscars once again, days after wavering on an earlier decision to back out of the gig amid backlash from past homophobic tweets and comments.
Deadline.com reported that Hart fears becoming a distraction that would take the spotlight off the people and movies being honored. He also has grown concerned over the limited amount of time he would have to prepare.
But Hart’s decision to forgo the job didn’t come before responding to openly gay CNN anchor Don Lemon, who took the comedian to task Friday night during his “CNN Tonight” broadcast.
“Kevin, if anything, this is the time to hear other people out, to hear why they might have been offended,” Lemon said. “I don’t see any meaningful outreach to the community … and now you want the conversation to end.”
Lemon added that, for many people, the apologies Hart has given have fallen flat.
“To many they seem insincere, and that he has somehow turned himself into a victim instead of acknowledging the real victims of violent and sometimes deadly homophobia,” Lemon said.
Hart responded the next day via Instagram:
“When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge,” Hart wrote. “You can’t change without a understanding of what GROWTH means. … Basketball players aren’t great until they LEARN how to play the game correctly. Teachers are great teachers when they LEARN how to get thru to kids correctly.”
He ended the text with a pointed remark: “A news anchor or a journalist does not start at the top…they have to LEARN and develop to be great at their job.”
Meanwhile, the Academy appears to be planning to go without a host, choosing instead to employ several big-name stars to present awards.