March 28, 2023

Twitter v. Hart

By: Rylee Marron

The internet will never be erased. The content that we all create whether it’s published or saved anywhere can always be found. Our old embarrassing MySpace profiles can come back to haunt us. Our selfies can show up with a fast search. But what about our public thoughts?

Comedian Kevin Hart, 39, recently experienced the troubles that come with Tweeting your thoughts. Deleted or not, the “Twitter mafia” found their way to callout Hart. Once he was nominated to be the 2019 Oscars host, he said to be his biggest dream of his on Ellen, Hart’s tweets that appeared to be homophobic and insensitive rose to the occasion. On December 4 2018, Benjamin Lee (@benfraserlee) quoted Hart’s tweet to call him out.

Hart quickly began to delete the tweets but it was too late. The Twitter Mafia had already began their war. Two days after the call out, Hart stepped down as Oscar’s host. According to a New York Times article,

“In his initial response hours before stepping down, Mr. Hart did not apologize. ‘Guys, I’m almost 40 years old,’ he said in a video. ‘If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain the past, then do you. I’m the wrong guy, man. I’m in a great place. A great mature place where all I do is spread positivity.’

Six hours later, he seemed to reconsider that response.

‘I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘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.’

Since then, there has been a lot of back and forth on people’s stance on Hart. Jonathan Van Ness, Netflix Queer Eye star, pointed out that he never fully apologized to the LGBTQ community.

About a month later after the homophobic tweet resurfaced, Ellen DeGeneres openly forgave Hart for the comments and said she believes in him. DeGeneres was one of the first open lesbians in Hollywood.

DeGeneres said he believes in second chances and that Hart deserves one.

So, the discussion goes back to our lecture in class about the “mafia” and ultimately bullying on both ends. Did Hart deserve the backlash and should pay his dues? Or should we forgive a man for tweets from 2011?

The internet mafia is in full force. Who knows who is next.

Twitter: @ryleemarron

6 thoughts on “Twitter v. Hart

  1. I think that you’re absolutely right – the “twitter mafia” is certainly a force to be reckoned with, and is definitely here to stay. What I’m fascinated by is Ellen’s positioning of herself as the spokesperson for all queer folks and forever forgiving and absolving Kevin Hart of all wrongdoing. I know plenty of queer folks (this one included) who definitely don’t think that Kevin Hart’s hurtful tweets and statements are forgiven and forgotten! Do we (as an internet mob) expend the energy to try and educate older performers and comedians? Or do we forget them and move on to more progressive, younger entertainers and celebrities?

  2. Without sounding too optimistic, what I love about the exchange between Ellen Degeneres and Kevin Hart is the emphasis of “forgiveness.” While it’s tougher to forgive many comments that people say on their social media accounts, it’s also important to understand the idea that some people make mistakes. How can we really progress and unite if we continue to hold grudges against others and insist that they can’t evolve as they grow older? Thanks for the great post!

  3. While I have done a terrible job of keeping track of all the Kevin Hart drama, this piece does a great job of summarizing. For my first case study for this class I took a dive into Nike’s Choose Go campaign surrounding the launch of their Epic React running shoe. Hart was prominently featured in the commercial, which came out before any of his 2018 scandals. While Nike couldn’t have predicted the year he would have, I feel that the ad was still strong despite his involvement. Even though things may seem rough for Hart, it shouldn’t change how all content associated with him is viewed. Will be interesting to see how Hart’s 2019 pans out.

    Twitter: @runjwill

  4. Great post and hot topic of conversation! It is hard in this day in age when there is so much grey area with ever changing social media and the idea of a “twitter mafia” being out there constantly trying to dig up dirt on people. It is situations like this that just reminds us as a younger generation growing up with this level of communication that we need to remember that everything we put out is out there and represents who we are. So, if you think it can come around and have backlash years down the road…don’t post it. I do think Kevin Hart deserves forgiveness and another chance if he is making such an effort to express how sorry he is. This is not the first case of old tweets being brought up against people and I am sure it will not be the last.

  5. While clearly Kevin Hart’s comments are unacceptable, I can’t stop thinking about why the “Twitter mafia” only went after him once he was announced as the host of the Oscars. It’s not as if he became famous overnight–he’s been one of the most well-known comedians and actors for years. As other commenters have mentioned, this isn’t the first nor will it be the last example of old inappropriate or offensive tweets being used against people , but why isn’t this happening everyday? Why does the Twitter mafia only like to go after people immediately after they’ve reached a pinnacle in their careers (see the MLB All-Stars game)? Seems like the only thing Twitter users love more than “stan”ing celebs and athletes is tearing them down.

  6. Thank you for bringing this piece of pop culture to light and tying it into this class! I do believe in second chances, and I fully believe that people can change their views and beliefs over time. Referring to Jonathan Van Ness’s tweets, I also agree that Kevin Hart should have taken full responsibility for his tweets and should have given a formal apology right when the tweets were resurfaced. The problem with this Twitter “mafia” is the fact that if Kevin Hart had not gotten the opportunity to host the 2019 Oscars, these tweets would have most likely stayed in the past. My problem is that people make mistakes but others do not care about their mistakes until they are honored with incredible opportunities in the present; as a result, their mistakes are then resurfaced.

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