Kevin Hart Steps Down from Hosting Oscars
The Academy gave Hart the ultimatum to apologize or step down over past homophobic tweets. But the Academy has its own issues it needs to face.
Comedian Kevin Hart tweeted on Tuesday that being selected to host the 2019 Oscars was the "opportunity of a lifetime." On Friday, Hart said that he was stepping down over past anti-gay tweets.
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. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
I'm sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
Hart said in an Instagram Post that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences gave him an ultimatum: apologize or "we're going to have to move on and find another host."
A 2011 tweet that Hart deleted this week, according to BuzzFeed News, read: "Yo if my son comes home & 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'."
"What Hart tweeted was crazy and violent," said DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti. "Makes me wonder if he's afraid of what he sees in the mirror."
Hart is acknowledging that what he did was hurtful and unacceptable.
But was the Academy's demand for an apology solely in support of the LGBTQ community? Or did worries about viewership factor into their decision?
Academy Awards Viewership Has Been Decreasing
According to reports, the Academy had a hard time finding a host for the 2019 Oscars, a show that has decreased in viewership since 2014.
"The need to win over so many constituents has put off some of the best candidates, who see little upside in taking on a job that pays only low six figures but requires weeks of work; that usually results in a media flaying; and that does little to boost the host's profile," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
So the Academy's invitation to Hart to host the show wasn't sincere. They needed someone to fill the spot.
It seems their ultimatum to Hart was more about losing viewership. For the past 10 years, there certainly hasn't been much advocacy for movie roles reflective of the LGBT community.
A report this year from Professor Stacy L. Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at USC, reveals that among the 48,757 characters in 1,100 top studio films from 2007 to 2017, less than 1 percent of all characters were from the LGBT community.
Diversity and Me Too Movement
In 2017, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first Black president of the Academy, decided to leave its board and she did not seek re-election. She was the third woman to hold the position since the Academy was founded in 1927. John Bailey, a white man, replaced Boone Isaacs as president.
Following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, a "diversity initiative" was put in place. This year, the Academy boasted that 38 percent of the Oscars' governing body's new class is made up of people of color. That only increased representation from 13 percent in 2017 to 16 percent. That certainly doesn't reflect the changing demographics of the country, or the demographics of moviegoers.
According to UCLA's " Hollywood Diversity Report," people of color accounted for the majority of ticket sales for five of the top 10 films in 2016 (ranked by global box office).
At this year's Oscars, there was an attempt to recognize the Me Too movement. But the film industry has made Hollywood a haven for powerful men, like Harvey Weinstein, who practice sexual misconduct toward women.
When will the Academy apologize to consumers for being hypocritical?
A coast guard lieutenant targeted Trump's critics. Lemon said the president's words matter. "These things don't happen in a vacuum."
"Once again, critics of the president are being targeted with violence ... these things don't happen in a vacuum," CNN anchor Don Lemon said.
"On that [hitlist] were Democratic politicians including Senator Chuck Schumer, Richard Blumenthal, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and journalists from CNN and MSNBC — including myself."
Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, of Silver Spring, Md., called for "focused violence" to "establish a white homeland" and said, "I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth," according to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland.
"Please send me your violence that I may unleash it onto their heads," Hasson wrote in a letter that prosecutors said was found in his email drafts. "Guide my hate to make a lasting impression on this world."
He was charged with illegally possessing weapons and drugs, and the government intends to bring more charges. His detention hearing in federal court is in Greenbelt on Thursday.
"The defendant is a domestic terrorist," the government said in court filings, "bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct."
Hate crimes jumped up 17 percent in the year after Trump was elected
He also cancelled the Obama administration's Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program, which was designed to fight domestic terrorism, largely executed by hate groups.
73 percent of domestic terror attacks between 9/11 and December 31, 2016 were committed by far-right violent extremists. That far outweighs the groups Trump identifies as threats to this country. But he wastes no time in insisting that brown populations are criminals and terrorists.
Almost 60 percent of victims of hate crimes in 2017 were targeted because of their race or ethnicity. Hate crimes jumped up 17 percent in the year after Trump was elected.
"Today, Americans are more likely to be killed by their fellow Americans than jihadists, and yet, we treat each incident as a one off, when they are connected by ideologies of hate and white nationalism, " former special FBI agent Clint Watts said.
"The President has the power to mobilize on domestic extremists, but he does not and instead ignores the gravity of the situation. As he doesn't seek to protect all Americans, just all of his supporters."
When a domestic terrorist mailed pipe bombs to Trump's critics, including former president Obama and the Clintons, Trump passed on calling them after the terrorist was caught, and refused to change his rhetoric when advised to. "Tone down, no. Could tone up," he said.
"Words matter," Lemon said.
Proud Boys is a far-right, extremist group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
On Monday, President Trump gave a speech in Miami to his supporters, and a member of the Proud Boys — who wore a "Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong!" T-shirt — sat in a prime spot behind him.
Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher, asked the student why he continues to live in the U.S., "if it's so bad here."
"I'm a Christian evangelical, I grew up in the Christian faith, and one of the most clear public policies that you're supposed to engage in as a just society is fairness toward the strangers, immigrants," Barber said.
The NAACP and Rev. Dr. William Barber called out evangelical Christians who back President Donald Trump's family separation policy, and called the policy racist.
"We see this happening," Barber said, "and this attack on children — we know it's brown children, it wouldn't be happening if it wasn't brown children at the southern border — is white supremacy, white nationalism, being implemented in our public policy right in front of our faces."
"I will take your photo and send it to ICE. You don't belong here," said the attacker.
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Williams is taking a stand to prevent the mistreatment of women of color by law enforcement.
Georgia State Sen. Nikema Williams, the first Black woman elected to lead the state's Democratic party, was jailed last year for just standing among protesters at the state Capitol. Williams is now taking a stand to prevent the mistreatment of women of color by law enforcement.