The Kevin Hart Oscars debacle is a lesson in the way power works

Uh oh. Things have always moved fast in showbusiness and in the age of the web complaint and the infuriating “non-apology”
they move faster still. It’s what John Sutherland calls the “hyper-instantaneous” response of contemporary media. At the beginning of the week, the Academy announced that comedy megastar Kevin Hart would be hosting the 2019 Oscars. Today, Hart is standing down, bruised and battered by a tsunami of online rage about his homophobic gagsof 10 years ago, material that he has for some time said were in fact satiric comments about his own heterosexual anxiety.


Many were unconvinced by that explanation and Hart made things considerably worse with a video posted on Instagram on Thursday in which he announced the Academy had asked him to apologise or quit: “I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times.” Announcing you’re “passing on an apology” is petrol on the flames. Hart’s final apology in the tweet announcing his resignation was more fulsome: “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past” — although that “my past” remark shows that he is still not ready to swallow every morsel of pride.

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