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Funnyman Kevin Hart landed his dream job in 2018 when he was appointed as the host of the 91st Annual Academy Awards. But his joy proved to be short-lived when a series of homophobic tweets resurfaced from his past. Furthermore, the subsequent furore and his handling of it eventually cost him the Oscars gig.

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Hart’s questionable attitude towards the LGBTQ community first came to light in 2009 on his official Twitter profile. The comedian discussed how he’d deal with the prospect of his son being gay and said that if he ever saw him playing with a doll’s house he’d break it over his head. Hart also described another user’s profile image as “a gay billboard for AIDS.”

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Hart’s anti-LGBT jokes weren’t just confined to social media, either. In his Seriously Funny stand-up special in 2010, the comedian began a routine by insisting that he wasn’t homophobic. However, he then went on to talk about how panicked he’d be if he ever saw his son getting too close to another boy. And Hart even remarked that he would resort to physical violence to separate them.

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Several years later Hart once again made homophobic comments – only this time it was in a major Hollywood movie. The comedian repeatedly makes anti-gay jokes in the film Get Hard – which he starred in alongside Will Ferrell. And he refused to apologize for any offense he may have caused – telling HitFix that “at the end of the day, funny is funny.”

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The aforementioned examples of Hart’s apparent homophobia were questioned at the time. But it was only when he was announced as the host of the 2019 Academy Awards that the backlash truly began. And as a result, Hart was dropped from the job that he admitted on Instagram had been “a goal on my list for a long time.”

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Kevin Hart developed his sense of humor while growing up with his older sibling Robert and his systems analyst mother Nancy in Pennsylvania. His father was a drug-addicted convict and Hart often used comedy as a coping mechanism. He got the stand-up bug when he appeared on stage at an amateur evening at a club in his home state.

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However, Hart wasn’t exactly an overnight success. Performing under the guise of Lil Kev, his debut show at Philadelphia’s The Laff House was a disaster. And he was repeatedly heckled during his other earlier gigs – with an audience member even pelting a piece of chicken at the future star at one particular show.

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But sometimes practise makes perfect. And after gaining more experience at various comedy contests across Massachusetts, Hart’s material and the audience reaction to it significantly improved. He stopped trying to replicate the methods of his own comedy heroes and instead developed a style which drew upon his own personal experiences.

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And Hart has had plenty of life experiences to draw upon. There’s the fractured relationship with his father, of course. Hart told The New York Times in 2012, “My dad said I was supposed to be on drugs. I was like, ‘Dad, shut up,’ but then I thought about it, and it was stupid, but it made sense. He was saying that basically he was my example to never go down that road.”

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Hart has also walked down the aisle twice. His marriage to first wife Torrei fell apart in early 2010 and after agreeing on joint custody of their two children the pair officially divorced the following year. Hart walked down the aisle again in 2016 with Eniko Parrish and the couple welcomed their first child together a year later.

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Unfortunately, Hart’s second marriage hasn’t exactly been a smooth one, either. In 2017 the comedian went public with the news that he had been unfaithful to his wife while she was carrying their child. The funnyman took to Instagram to issue an apology for the “mistakes” that he had made.

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In 2019 Hart also suffered a major scare when the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda he was a passenger in veered off the highway and down an embankment. Both the comedian and the driver of the vehicle were left with significant injuries to their backs as a result. Hart then spent ten days receiving hospital care before continuing his treatment at a rehab center.

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Hart and his eventful life stories soon saw him playing to sold-out crowds across the United States. His increasing popularity was exemplified by the fact that both 2011’s Laugh at My Pain and Let Me Explain two years later were released in cinemas. According to reports, the former national tour also netted him a cool $15 million.

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And Hart continued to pull in massive audiences throughout the rest of the decade. In 2015 he performed in front of no fewer than 53,000 fans during a show at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. This particular date from his Kevin Hart: What Now? tour also hit the big screen – cementing the star as one of the most successful comedians of his generation.

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Hart had also established himself as a major Hollywood star, too. He first caught attention as an actor in Undeclared – the early ‘00s sitcom penned by Judd Apatow. The comedian then went on to land minor roles in big screen comedies such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Scary Movie 4 and Death at a Funeral.

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In 2008 Hart turned down the opportunity to raise his profile further in the star-studded action comedy Tropic Thunder. And in a sign of things to come, he rejected the role of Alpa Chino as he said that he wasn’t comfortable playing a gay man on screen. However, Brandon T. Jackson had no such qualms and often stole the show with his portrayal of a closeted rapper.

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Hart first proved he had leading man potential when he starred in Think Like A Man in 2012. The ensemble romantic comedy was a big success at the box office and led to a sequel. The comedian also impressed with supporting turns in The Five-Year Engagement and Grudge Match and made cameos in Exit Strategy and This Is the End.

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In 2014 Hart joined forces with rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube in buddy comedy Ride Along. Although the critical response was a mixed one, the general public couldn’t get enough of the pair’s natural rapport and the film became one of Hart’s biggest commercial hits. Perhaps inevitably, a sequel then followed just two years later.

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Striking while the iron was hot, Hart also shared the screen with Will Ferrell in Get Hard and Dwayne Johnson in Central Intelligence. He returned to the rom-com genre in The Wedding Ringer and also lent his unmistakable voice to animations The Secret Life of Pets and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Hart’s prolific streak then continued in 2017 with a co-starring role in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

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Not only did Hart share top billing with Tiffany Haddish in 2018’s Night School, he also produced it. The hit comedy was the first movie to emerge from his own company, HartBeat Productions – which has since signed up to create content for Nickelodeon and landed a first-look deal with Universal Studios. Hart then showcased his dramatic chops alongside Nicole Kidman and Bryan Cranston in The Upside.

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Hart further proved that he could venture outside his comedic comfort zone when he landed a role in Fatherhood. Due for release in early 2021, the drama sees the funnyman play a man forced to deal with becoming a single parent when his wife dies shortly after giving birth to their daughter. And that’s not all that Hart has in the pipeline.

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The comedian also due to star as a househusband embroiled in an increasingly bitter divorce battle in an as-yet-untitled comedy penned by Yamara Taylor – a writer on hit sitcom Black-ish. Hart will also show up on the big screen in action comedy The Man from Toronto. And he’s also reportedly working on a remake of Bill Murray’s festive comedy Scrooged.

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Of course, Hart has plenty of other strings to his bow. He’s also flirted with a music career – collaborating with the likes of T.I., Migos and Trey Songz. And under the curious moniker of Chocolate Droppa he released an accompanying soundtrack for the theatrical release of his What Now? tour.

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Hart has also used his natural charisma and quick wit as the host of several major awards ceremonies. He first took on such a role at the BET Awards in 2011 and a year later was given a similar gig at the MTV VMAs thanks to a recommendation from Judd Apatow. Furthermore, in 2016 Hart joined regular co-star Dwayne Johnson as the co-host of the MTV Movie Awards.

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In 2018 Hart looked to have bagged the gig he’d always dreamed about: hosting the Academy Awards. But not everyone was happy about his appointment. Social media was soon abuzz with users calling for Hart to be sacked after tweets of a homophobic nature posted by him resurfaced on the social media platform.

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Following two days of intense pressure, Hart responded to the uproar on his Instagram page. The comedian told his followers that he’d received an ultimatum from the Academy about his tweets. Apparently, the comedian had been told that he needed to either say sorry for the posts or resign from his position as Oscars host. It appeared to be a no-brainer decision; and yet, Hart didn’t take the route that many expected.

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In a video clip, the star explains, “I passed on the apology… I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were.” However, Hart’s critics claimed that there was no evidence that the star had previously apologized for his past comments.

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Just 24 hours after his initial response, Hart confirmed that he’d decided to resign from his Academy Awards role. He tweeted, “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s… This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.” And to the surprise of many, Hart also showed signs of remorse.

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Despite previously stating he wasn’t going to say sorry for his previous tweets, Hart added, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past… I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together – not tear us apart.”

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Hart’s apology appeared to diffuse the situation until he showed up on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The daytime TV show host claimed that the comedian’s detractors were merely “haters” and revealed that she’d even contacted Oscars organizers herself to try and get him reinstated. Soon, DeGeneres was facing a backlash of her own – with members of the LGBTQ community particularly enraged that she’d taken it upon herself to speak on their behalf.

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Hart hoped to put the matter to rest for good when he offered a more formal apology on his SiriusXM radio show Straight from the Hart. He told listeners, “Now we’re in a space where I’m around people of the LGBTQ community, and I’m now aware of how these words make them feel, and why they say, ‘That s*** hurt because of what I’ve been through’… I’m riding with you guys. I understand you.”

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Of course, with Hart having to go on the promo trail for The Upside in the midst of the controversy, the star was inevitably forced to confront the issue repeatedly. While appearing on Good Morning America, the star was asked by Michael Strahan about the furore. Hart replied, “I’m done with it. It gets no more energy from me. There’s no more conversation about it.”

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Hart also expressed his annoyance on how the matter was refusing to die down when he showed up on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He told the host, “No matter how many times you keep peeling it back, it’s just endless. I apologized, ‘Apologize again!’ I said I apologized before, ‘Apologize after that apology!’ It just keeps going.”

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And viewers of Kevin Hart: Don’t F*** This Up got a further insight into how the whole drama unfolded. The Netflix docuseries features footage taken during the height of the Oscars controversy and shows how Hart and his team reacted behind the scenes. One particularly honest publicist is seen telling him, “you need to learn how to stop and think” before adding that the comedian should take a “humility pill.”

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These words appeared to have an effect on Hart and he’s later seen in more remorseful mode. Referring to his most offensive jokes, the comedian said, “I missed an opportunity to say simply that I don’t condone any type of violence in any way, shape or form to anyone for being who they are. I f***ed up… Instead I said, ‘I addressed it.’ I said, ‘I apologized.’ I said, ‘I talked about this already.’ I was just immature.”

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In 2020 Hart once again addressed the issue that had dominated his professional life over the past year in an interview with Men’s Health. Thankfully, he appeared to have learned from his previous mistakes. He told the magazine, “With the whole Oscars thing, there was a big gap between what I thought the problem was versus what the problem really was.”

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Hart went on to add, “I got ten years where I made sure not to joke or play in the way that I did back then because it was a problem. I don’t care if you’re gay or not gay. I’m a people person. I’m going to love you regardless.”

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And Hart admitted that he was initially more concerned about the accusations of homophobia rather than the offense he’d caused with his social media posts. However, he was able to reassess the situation after a little advice from some celebrity friends. And they included a star who had already fought his corner in a very public way.

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“It wasn’t until close friends like Wanda Sykes, Lee Daniels and Ellen [DeGeneres] talked to me and explained what they didn’t hear me say that I understood,” Hart admitted to Men’s Health. He then came to the startling realization, adding, “Then I was like, ‘Oh, s***. I did f*** up.’”

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And Hart hopes that he can help others to learn from his experiences. He went on to say, “People attach failure or an ending to a problem. Well, problems are made to be solved. Maybe if people see how I’ve gone through some of my hardships, they’ll find some motivation or inspiration.”

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