The comedian was named host on Dec. 4, but he later decided to pass as the host of the upcoming 91st Academy Awards after some tweets from his past resurfaced, which included homophobic slurs. He claimed that the Academy gave him an ultimatum to apologize or be fired from the honor. Since he felt he’d already addressed his past missteps and didn’t want the situation to distract from the show, Kevin Hart quit as host.
Per a survey conducted by Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter, the public isn’t swayed strongly to one side or the other on if Kevin Hart ultimately made the right decision to hand away becoming host at the Oscars this year. 44% said he made the right decision, 26% said it was the wrong one and 30% don’t know or don’t care about the issue.
These results skew slightly in Kevin Hart’s favor, but more so show ambivalence toward the Oscars controversy that blew up the internet last week. When asked if the Academy was in line to pressure the comedian to apologize, 36% said yes and 34% said no, creating almost an even divide among those surveyed.
It should be noted that only 15% of the public said they have heard a lot about the Kevin Hart/Oscars news, so many didn’t have too much to weigh in on. When asked if their decision has changed about Kevin Hart following the homophobic tweets, 41% said no and 29% said yes. Conversely, 26% are soured by the Academy for the pressure they put on Hart.
The reason the public isn’t going straight to antagonizing Kevin Hart for the inappropriate tweets of his past is multifaceted. To start, they are from his past, and the actor/comedian made this clear that it doesn’t reflect his opinions now. Hart maintains he’s evolved since, and is in a different place in life.
The question of whether old social media posts are reflective of their authors was also collected by the recent survey, to which 56% agreed and 44% said it does change their opinion regardless of time. It’s certainly a relevant trend to talk about as old tweets from James Gunn cost the job of the Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director. In Kevin Hart’s case, it looks like he was given leeway to still host if he apologized, but he decided to not let the “internet trolls” win this one.
The Academy is now tasked with coming up with another host for this year’s award show on February 24. The past few years have showed that the Academy Awards are losing their relevance as last year 19% fewer viewers tuned in and the Academy proposed a new controversial category for “Popular Films” over the summer, only to be shot down by the film community and thus postponed. This makes the host quite an important decision for the Academy to make if they want to improve their numbers this time around.