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 LGBT 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?
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A video of a white man yelling at a white cop, without physical consequences, has more than 1 million views.
Botham Jean, Jemel Roberson and Emantic Bradford Jr. were all minding their own business, not mouthing off, and they were shot dead by police. Sandra Bland questioned an officer and wound up dead in a jail cell.
So when a video of an unidentified white man spewing expletives at an officer, throwing his license at the officer, and threatening to kill the officer, without any physical consequences, started circulating on Twitter, it went viral with more than 1 million views this week.
“All Black people have to do is stop mouthing off to police, do as they're told and they won't get shot"....
White people: pic.twitter.com/C7pf122BHm
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) December 2, 2018
People of color on Twitter commented that had it been them in the video, they would've had bullets in the chest by the time the truck passed:
I think that this should be allowed to be shown in the court room when white officers claim they fear for their lives because he clearly said that he would kill that officer now that would be a reason to fear for your life and yet that white man is not shot or is he dead hmmmmmmm
— Kellie Byrdsong (@ByrdsongKellie) December 3, 2018
I've literally seen Black men get manhandled and slapped around over a lot less
— aDORKable_me525 (@JayLaLa_RN) December 3, 2018
The second a black or Latin dude raises his hand and points is the second the cop pulls the trigger... this guy sure represents the power of being white ...
— Alberto Toribio (@ArealMac) December 2, 2018
Boy he would have emptied a clip in my chest for this
— Ahmadd (@amadafrink) December 2, 2018
There are studies that well document how Blacks have been treated differently by police. In the case traffic stops, whites were 57 percent more likely to be spoken to with respectful language, whereas Black drivers were 61 percent more likely to experience an exchange that was the least respectful. Officers language with the least respect included calling people, "dude, bro, boss, man, brotha, sista or chief".
FBI data found that U.S. police kill Black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the U.S. population. And 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police are Black.
Yet racists, and some conservatives believe the treatment is deserved because Blacks did something wrong.
Angry White Man Invokes Law Enforcement Injustice to Black People When He Thinks He's on the Receiving End: Video
Trump voter expresses frustration at perceived unfair treatment on racial terms.
For example, in Orlando's International Airport in August, a white male Trump supporter tackled to the ground by police for being a disruptive passenger
knew his privilege, when he said, "You're being rough with me. You're f***ing treating me like a Black person."
Reader Question: How does the video of the white man berating the white officer make you feel?
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