Kevin Hart on cancel culture: Why are people supposed to be perfect all the time?

Actor Kevin Hart wearing Alexander McQueen arrives at the World Premiere Of Columbia Pictures' 'Jumanji: The Next Level' held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on December 9, 2019 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States.

In late 2018, Kevin Hart was announced as the host of the 2019 Oscars. The backlash against him was immediate – the LGBTQ community dragged Kevin for his lengthy history of homophobia in interviews and on stage as a comic. Hart ended up stepping down as Oscar host and doing some kind of half-hearted apology tour where he didn’t actually apologize that much. I remember Ellen DeGeneres had him on her show and Ellen tried to act like she was giving Kevin her blessing and people just started to drag her too. Anyway, Kevin’s career survived. He still gets tons of acting work and he’s still making money. He didn’t really get “cancelled,” he just didn’t get to host the Oscars. Now Kevin is talking about “cancel culture” and accountability culture:

Kevin Hart isn’t afraid to share his opinion on cancel culture, after being on the receiving end during controversial moments in his career. In a new interview with the Sunday Times, the 41-year-old actor and comedian bared his opinions on the topics, saying, “I personally don’t give a s— about it.”

“If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached. But when you just talk about … nonsense?” he continued. “When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the f— up! What are you talking about?”

Hart, who stars in the upcoming father-daughter movie Fatherhood, said, “When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time? I don’t understand. I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from f—ing up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t f—ed up or done some dumb s—.”

Hart then touched on his own experiences with cancel culture, telling the Times, “I’ve been cancelled, what, three or four times? Never bothered. If you allow it to have an effect on you, it will. Personally? That’s not how I operate. I understand people are human. Everyone can change. It’s like jail. People get locked up so they can be taught a lesson. When they get out, they are supposed to be better. But if they come out and people go, ‘I’m not giving you a job because you were in jail’ – then what the f— did I go to jail for? That was my punishment – how do you not give those people a shot? They’re saying that all life should be over because of a mistake? Your life should end and there should be no opportunity to change? What are you talking about? And who are you to make that decision?”

[From People]

I think Hart’s comparison to jail is kind of apt – there does seem to be this sense that when celebrities are “cancelled” on the internet, there’s some kind of time limit until everyone moves on to someone else and/or forgets that the dude was cancelled. Hart’s history of homophobia got a backlash and I’m sure there are still people who will never watch a Kevin Hart movie. But those people willing to overlook his history were happy enough to just see him minorly “cancelled” and then able to come back.

And by the way, literally no one is like “everyone has to be perfect all the time.” In Hart’s case, he probably could have “gotten away” with his long history of homophobic statements and homophobic comedy if he had thoroughly apologized immediately and spoken about why he knows those jokes are not funny, but actually quite offensive. He didn’t do that. He was 39 years old when that went down in 2018 too – it’s not like he was a dumb kid making a mistake.

(FILE) Kevin Hart and Wife Eniko Parrish Hart Are Expecting Their Second Baby Together. The comedian...

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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46 Responses to “Kevin Hart on cancel culture: Why are people supposed to be perfect all the time?”

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  1. Robyn says:

    People aren’t supposed to be perfect, Kevin. They should just maybe not publicly threaten to harm their child if they are gay or tell a teenager to kill themselves. There is ZERO excuse for that but there are indeed consequences.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      Thank you! Well said. I went from liking this guy to not being able to stand him in a short time after he opened his mouth a few times. That is called a consequence. I hope he gets enough of them to start to make his hateful beliefs very uncomfortable.

    • DuchessL says:

      Cancel culture is great for celebrities, people with influence and power so that they cannot just do what they feel like because they have some privilege or money or power. Cancel culture was great with weinstein. Karma will get the worst of you. Thats great

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      People don’t have to be perfect. But people also don’t have to support, or pay money to see, celebrities they find offensive. It’s not that complicated.

  2. Nomegusta says:

    Being a decent human being is not hard.

    As Kat William’s said, if you can’t be funny without being offensive, you aren’t funny.

  3. STRIPE says:

    Kat Williams gave a great answer to cancel culture and its impact on comedy. He basically said “if you are unwilling/able to change with culture maybe comedy isn’t for you”

  4. Haylie says:

    There’s no bigger snowflakes out there than most male comedians.

  5. GrnieWnie says:

    This guy is so obtuse. He doubles down to insist that he’s right, which says a lot about why he’s been successful – and also why he’s incapable of growing.

    Laughing at people who are already subject to cruelty from society isn’t funny. It’s CRUEL, doorknob. Punch up, not down. It isn’t rocket science!

    All these people who keep saying “I’ve been cancelled” to prove a point just…prove the point that cancel culture isn’t a thing. Duh.

    • Robyn says:

      Right? If you’re complaining to your public platform of millions from your pile of money in your mansion, you have not been cancelled.

    • MF1 says:

      This is the crux of it: he doubles down to insist that he’s right because he’s entitled. He believes he’s entitled to say whatever he wants with zero consequences, so anyone who calls him out on it must be wrong.

  6. Myra says:

    No one is asking for perfection. Everyone has individual flaws but if your character flaw contributes to someone’s ostracisation, assault or death, then people are right to call you out. Instead of getting defensive, why not work on yourself to be a better person? Even if you were just joking, just apologise and do better.

    • Julie says:

      Kevin wants it both ways: to be obscenely wealthy and also be a critical darling. Apparently his wealth isn’t enough to stroke his ego and instead of wondering if his comedy just isn’t good enough, he assumes everyone else is too sensitive.

      Sure Jan, it’s US that’s too sensitive

  7. EnormousCoat says:

    He’s clearly very bothered by people attempting to hold him accountable, he just hasn’t grown from it because it seems that he refuses to examine his actions and behaviors. I once worked on a project with DV advocates and they explained that consequences need three prongs to take root with DV offenders: legal, personal/social, and community. They stressed that growth could be achieved, but only after people faced and accepted the consequences. Anytime you don’t face real consequences, I suppose that emboldens your sense of entitlement and any attempts to hold you accountable will then result in you perceiving yourself as a victim, which is just gross. And dude, you’re 41. The common thread amongst all people who hate “cancel culture” is gross immaturity, which is what I suppose feeds entitlement. What a way to go through life.

  8. LaraW” says:

    I didn’t realize that respecting human rights is the same as “demanding perfection.”

    Learn new things every day.

  9. equality says:

    It’s not that difficult. Other people’s opinions and feelings matter as much as his does. That is the part those who whine about being “cancelled” don’t seem to be able to grasp. If you see you made a mistake apologize sincerely and show that you have changed.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      This. The interesting thing about many who are having their homophobia or misogyny addressed is that their ‘don’t expect perfection’ arguments seem to only work one way. They get to have momentary lapses in compassion and imperfect, old-fashioned moments and call that healthy, but whole generations and groups of people must at all times maintain perfectly calm, smiling, debate-worthy, robotic responses (or let’s be real, sometimes complete silence) to whatever homophobic, misogynistic, or other regressive fuckery is occurring.

      • Lucy2 says:

        Exactly!
        Plus I think he’s just incapable of admitting he was wrong. He could’ve taken that moment to say “you know what, I’ve said hurtful things and I’m sorry, and I won’t do that again”. Instead he spent three years doubling down and whining at every opportunity, and now blowing it out of proportion into “how dare you demand 100% perfection from me“ when really people were like “hey could you just stop being a bigot?”

  10. sa says:

    “I’ve been cancelled, what, three or four times? Never bothered.”

    How does he not realize that if was ever actually “cancelled” it would only happen once. Being called out for what you do or say is not being “cancelled.” Facing minor consequences for what you do or say is not being “cancelled.”

    Also, … “If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached. But when you just talk about … nonsense?” he continued. “When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the f— up! What are you talking about?”

    He’s a comedian, how does he so easily dismiss the impact of words? Words are his trade. It’s interesting that after dismissing the impact of words he won’t even say what he was actually called out for, but instead says “nonsense”.

    • letitbe says:

      I think he is talking about cancel culture as it really works, not as the actual definition of cancel. Even as this post states there seems to be a short shelf life for cancelling people or businesses. It’s a huge deal at first, big publicity, and then a bit later the line at Chick-fil-a is around the corner again. If you don’t understand the reference, either you are not regionally near a Chick-fil-a area or it proves the point.

      • sa says:

        What you’re talking about is not canceling someone, but them whining when they face (usually very limited) consequences for their actions. There is a difference.

      • observer says:

        you’re right about the Chick-Fil-A (and we don’t even have them in my state and i’ve never eaten there….and i’m LGBTQ and i want to. sigh)

    • Julie says:

      Because Kevin has no real respect for his trade. He only sees the financial gain it can provide him but lacks the emotional maturity to see beyond that

  11. girl_ninja says:

    Poor Kevin. How about not dissing dark skinned back women.

    Broke ass dark hoes in one of your little “jokes.” 🤷🏾‍♀️

  12. Steph says:

    He was trending on Twitter yesterday bc people were saying he’s not funny. Then he went on a rant trying to convince people he’s not bothered lol. Yeah, buddy, sure you’re not…

  13. BnlurNforever says:

    I can’t stand this prick. If he’s in a movie no matter who else is in it with him that I like, I can’t see that movie. I’ve never seen anything he’s been in because I can’t stand that prick. I wish he was cancelled, but unfortunately the little prick is like teflon and is never cancelled. Every time I learn of something awful he’s said or done, I hope this time he’ll get his comeuppance and it never happens, so to hear him speak about “cancel culture” is ridiculous because he’s someone who actually needs to be cancelled and he is not.

    • Nina says:

      His act of the screaming spastic little man is not funny and he has the most annoying voice. His sell-by date is fast approaching. Can’t wait, his schtick of broke-ass dark hoes is so offensive, when it is a dark-skinned black woman that fed his ass and propped him up while he was trying to make it as a comedian. And he repaid her by cheating on her and dropping her like a hot potato once he achieved that success. He should sit his short two feet ass down and shut up.

    • Nina says:

      Thank you for the invite. Can’t stand his short 2 feet tall behind.

  14. SarahCS says:

    “If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached. But when you just talk about … nonsense?”

    Remind me again of the suicide rates and mental health issues not to mention active discrimination against people in the communities he’s ‘joked’ about? Words have power Kevin and you of all people should know that, it’s literally your career.

  15. Mel says:

    No need to be perfect ,just don’t be a twit.

  16. lunchcoma says:

    If you’ve been cancelled 4 times, you haven’t actually been cancelled. He seems to be mixing up “cancelled” with “criticized.” And sorry, Kevin, you’re going to keep being criticized if you keep doing crappy things and not apologizing for them or changing your behavior. That’s what happens when people other than you get to make their own judgments about what constitutes truly harming someone.

  17. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I can’t. I mean… REALLY. Who doesn’t understand actions and words have consequences? This is elementary teaching. Toddlers learn this. Decency is so very simple, and nobody pleases everyone all the time. And THAT’S OKAY. Jesus.

  18. Renee says:

    I’m so tired of the excuse “no one is perfect”. It’s such manipulation. It’s complete accountability avoidance. NO ONE is perfect. We all know that. This guy will never get it……

  19. why? says:

    It sounds like he is trying to get ahead of a very damaging story that is about to come out about him. Was he involved in yet another cheating scandal?

    • Kebbie says:

      I was going to say I certainly hope his wife doesn’t expect perfection from him. Wasn’t he the one who was recorded going down on some woman in the backseat of a car outside a club a couple years back?

  20. Barbiem says:

    He has never been funny to me. Never.
    He seems a tad mean.
    If you don’t want to be judged, public careers and social media life not the way to go.

  21. letitbe says:

    I’m not sure Kevin is the right person to make these remarks, as he’s problematic in many areas. Still, I have my questions about cancel culture as it works today too. One who decides which people and businesses behavior is canceled. There are bigger injustices with some people and companies that get no attention, and that makes it all sort of a publicity game which bothers me, as then it is whose publicity is bigger and better and most likely more expensive. Conversely, the one’s who recover quicker definitely have the bigger, better and more expensive conflict management teams. Second, it’s kind of a gang think where people join to join and don’t know why they are doing it. Some people are then judging other people and things without the facts and that’s a bit too Scarlet Letter and actually Trumpian for me too.

    All of that being said, anyone who doesn’t like what a company or person did/said and wants to not give their hard earned money, I get that and support it. Also, cancel culture as it exists today, in it’s imperfect form, is not the most important or biggest factor hurting our society either. Frankly, it’s way down on the list and the amount of air it gets is wild and unjustified. It’s been used forever on all sides of the spectrum. In modern society, originally I think the right used it most, and I have to be honest that in and of itself bothers me a lot too. I guess I just gave it too much air too, but it is an interesting social topic and I’m not a celebrity with a built in megaphone either.

    • Ann says:

      Yes, I agree about the bigger injustices that get no attention. When it comes to comedians I guess it takes all kinds, but look at the ones who can be very funny without being mean or scatological or just…..filthy, like Jim Gaffigan or something. I find that refreshing.

      I’ve only seen a couple of things with Kevin Hart, and I didn’t notice him saying anything I considered outrageous at the time, but then it was just a couple of things. One was a movie, and the other was a sketch bit where he made fun of himself, basically.

  22. Catherine says:

    Somebody needs to tell him to just stop talking. He is still so bitter about losing on the chance to host the Oscars that he can’t let it go. What he is ignoring is that there were many in the industry that defended him. With the exception of that hosting opportunity his career continued. He could have moved beyond this by now but he won’t stop talking. At this point more people are angry/annoyed at him for the whining he has been doing the last few years than they are about his homophobic content years ago. The real problem IMO is that his projects in recent years just have not been that good and he knows it. So his trying to claim the culture is canceling him as opposed to the fact that he is canceling himself because he just hasn’t been that entertaining.

  23. AmyB says:

    Yes, of course no one is perfect. That is not the point. When we are talking about sexual assault/rape (Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein) – are they supposed to get a pass? What about Chrissy Teigen now, and all her horrible, abusive bullying, telling people to literally go kill themselves? Does she get a pass?

    This is not about people being “perfect”…it is about them being decent human beings who don’t traumatize other people or say horribly racist, homophobic things. Big F**KING difference!

    As others have said, actions have consequences. This is called adulthood.

  24. tealily says:

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I 100% agree with him on this. You see it in the comments all the time… someone F-s up and apologizes, but until the end of time SOMEONE is always harping on it. For a situation where the person was never held accountable, I can understand that reaction, but if someone has owned up to it and tried to make it right, when the f- do we all just get to move on? What else can a person do?

    *I’ll add, I’m talking specifically about his comments here. I can’t remember what all happened with his homophobia comments and honestly, I can’t be bothered to look it up right now.

  25. Well Wisher says:

    When the original concept of cancel culture was an in house statement/joke, the person who was cancelled was none the wiser. This discussion on the social medium seem to have it replaced the phrase ‘political correctness’.