Kevin Hart took to social media Saturday to address ongoing criticism he has received since his interview with Ellen DeGeneres that aired Friday.
Hart, 39, has been under fire ever since a series of homophobic tweets dating back to 2011 resurfaced shortly after he was announced last month as the host of the 2019 Academy Awards.
Hart initially declined to apologize for the old tweets, saying that he had addressed them in the past, but he subsequently stepped down from the hosting gig, saying he did not want to be a “distraction” on the night and issued an apology to the LGBTQ community for his “insensitive words” in the past.
Hart wrote in his latest Instagram post: “When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge. You can’t change without a understanding of what GROWTH means. Please grasp this and use it in 2019.”
The post also included a statement talking about learning.
“A news anchor or a journalist does not start at the top …. They have to LEARN and develop to be great at their job,” the post read, which could be interpreted as a response to a number of journalists who have called him out for his handling of the controversy.
On Friday night, CNN’s Don Lemon, who is openly gay, called on Hart to “be a leader” and not walk away from the controversy.
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“Walking away right now, that is your choice, but many of us need to keep the conversation going,” he said. “It’s life or death. Someone like Kevin Hart can be a leader — the ultimate change agent — he can help change homophobia in the black community.”
Lemon also said Hart’s apologies “have fallen flat.”
“For many in the gay community, but especially in the black community, the Twitter apologies or explanations on ‘Ellen’ have fallen flat,” Lemon continued. “To many, they seem insincere, and that he has somehow turned himself into a victim instead of acknowledging the real victims of violent and sometimes deadly homophobia. Kevin, if anything, this is the time to hear people out.”
Writer Caroline Framke wrote in a column posted Friday in Variety arguing that Hart hadn’t proven that he’d learned much.
“If he gets the job back, it won’t be because he’s convinced his detractors that he actually cares about gay people,” Framke wrote. “It’ll be because he spun a story about vicious trolls going after him for no good reason. It might be a compelling enough angle to convince DeGeneres and her audience, but even if it manages to sway the Academy, it still won’t actually be true.”
During the interview, DeGeneres defended Hart and urged him to reconsider his decision to host the awards show. Hart told DeGeneres he was “evaluating” retaking the hosting position.