The backlash began as soon as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday that Kevin Hart will host the 91st Academy Awards, scheduled for Feb. 24.
“The gig will be Hart’s first time hosting the Oscars, a massive step up from his gigs hosting ceremonies like the BET Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and the MTV Movie and TV Awards,” Indiewire reports. “However, Hart’s hiring is being met with some backlash online from film writers and Oscar pundits.”
Among the early critics is Erik Anderson, the founder of Awards Watch. Anderson wrote on social media: “Considering how many of the Oscars’ biggest fans are women and gay men it’s quite something for the Academy to hire a guy who beat one wife, cheated on another when she was eight months pregnant and said one of his biggest fears is his son growing up and being gay.”
Hart is quoted in the report saying in his comedy special “Seriously Funny” in 2010: “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic. . . . Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”
Indiewire adds: “Hart told Rolling Stone in 2015 he would not make the same joke again and that the quote had everything to do with his own insecurities than with taking aim at the LGBTQ community. Regardless, the joke has remained a point of contention in Hart’s career.”