LeBron James and guests talk Trump, Kaepernick, Oscars controversy on ‘The Shop’

On HBO’s “The Shop” on Friday night, the show hosted by NBA All-Star LeBron James tackled the topic of whether some celebrities felt pressured to become “civil rights leaders” because of President Trump.

Comedian Jarrod Carmichael began the discussion, saying that since Trump took office in 2017, his opponents are “not having fun,” and feel “terrified” and “bogged down.”

“They’re afraid to not say speaking points,” Carmichael said, meaning that there was concern they could face backlash from Trump over what they say.

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James, who moderates the program built around conversations inside a barbershop, chimed in, saying comedians were “getting sh–” simply for “being the essence” of comics.

Actor Jamie Foxx added that the “funniest laugh” comes from people who say what they aren’t “supposed to say.”

“But the thing is,” Carmichael said, “it’s not just comedians that are getting it. It’s kinda everybody. It’s this weird expectation for entertainers to be civil rights leaders, right?”

At one point the discussion turned to the “take a knee” protests of police mistreatment of minorities, led by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Kap stood for something that was bigger than him,” James said. “How many people can wake up and say ‘You know what, I’ll give up everything that I’ve worked for my whole life, for the better of the conversation. I’m gonna lose everything I’ve got personally to better the conversation.’

“And that’s why we can sit here and salute Kap. And I hope that whatever the amount of money that he got [in his recent settlement with the NFL] sets him up for him, his kids, his grandkids, and his grandkids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids. I hope, I hope it’s that much money. I really do because the beautiful sport was taken from him.”

Later, when Foxx was asked what he thought about comedian Kevin Hart’s ousting from the Academy Awards hosting gig, the actor called the situation “f—-ed up.”

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“The Oscars lost out,” Foxx said. “They lost out because Kevin Hart is the nicest f—ing guy in the f—ing world. He wants everybody to love him. What happened was, is that the Oscars have now allowed, in a sense, for people to hijack them because the Oscars are supposed to be about that night. It’s supposed to be about people who put their work in and go get their statues. When you now allow this so-called ‘social media,’ whatever, to take Kevin Hart out, we all miss out.”

Hart was caught up in controversy in December after old homophobic tweets resurfaced shortly after it was announced that he would host the Feb. 24 Oscars ceremony. He later withdrew from the ceremony, which aired with no designated host.

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