Oscars host Kevin Hart responds to controversy over past homophobic tweets

Newly minted Oscars host Kevin Hart responded on Thursday to the resurfacing of years-old tweets in which he made homophobic and transphobic comments, saying that he is in a “great, mature place” now and asking people not to judge him by his past.

“My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, the world is upset about tweets you did years ago,” Hart says in a black-and-white video posted to Instagram. “Guys, I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe people change, grow as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify their past, then do you. I’m the wrong guy, man. I’m in a great place, a great mature place, where all I do is spread positivity.”

After Hart was announced as the host of the upcoming 91st Academy Awards on Tuesday, people began revisiting the comedian’s Twitter page and bringing up posts from as far back as 2009, in which Hart made homophobic and transphobic comments. In one tweet from 2011 that Guardian journalist Benjamin Lee tweeted out after the Oscars host announcement, Hart had written, “Yo if my son comes home and try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.’”

In his Instagram post Thursday, Hart did not specifically address the anti-gay comments, but rather said, “Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive […] I LOVE EVERYBODY…..ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY.”

Representatives for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organizers of the Oscars, did not immediately respond to EW for comment on Hart’s tweets.

In response to a report that Hart was deleting old tweets, comedian Billy Eichner, who is openly gay, replied, “Many of us have jokes/tweets we regret. I’m ok with tasteless jokes, depending on context. What bothers me about these is you can tell its not just a joke-there’s real truth, anger & fear behind these. I hope Kevin’s thinking has evolved since 2011.”

After Hart posted his video Thursday, Eichner tweeted, “This is not good. A simple, authentic apology showing any bit of understanding or remorse would have been so simple. Like I tweeted a few weeks ago, Hollywood still has a real problem with gay men. On the surface it may not look like it. Underneath, it’s far more complicated.”

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