Watch: After Being Named Oscars Host, Kevin Hart Comes Under Fire for Homophobic 'Jokes'

Thursday December 6, 2018

It was announced this week that Kevin Hart will be hosting the 91st Academy Awards in February but the comedian is now facing a backlash after the Internet called out anti-gay "jokes" he's made in the past.

IndieWire is reporting that Erik Anderson, the founder of the awards season website Awards Watch, took to social media not long after Hart confirmed he will be the host for the 2019 Oscars. Anderson called out the comedian's past comments about potentially having a gay son.

"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," Anderson wrote.

Last year, Hart admitted to cheating on his wife Eniko Parrish while she was pregnant earlier that year. In his 2017 memoir, Hart also admitted that there were times where his relationship with his first wife, Torrie Hart, became violent.

Nevertheless, it's Hart's comments about the possibility of having a gay son that seem to be drawing the most ire. The Guardian's Benjamin Lee took aim at Hart's 2010 comedy special "Seriously Funny" in a piece published this week. In Hart's standup, he explains how he'd react to his son growing up to be gay.

"One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay," Hart says in the special. "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."

In the same special, Hart carries out a skit in which he reflects on the times his son gave him "homosexual tendencies." Hart joked that he'd tell his son, "Stop, that's gay!"

"And the Oscar for most homophobic host ever goes to...," Lee tweeted.

In a 2015 Rolling Stones interview, however, Hart said he would not tell that joke again and that his bit had to do with his own insecurities and not the LGBTQ community.

Hart sparked controversy again in 2015 with "Get Hard," a comedy he stars in alongside Will Farrell. That film was criticized for "spending much of its run-time obsessing over gay panic, and the character's disgust at anal sex," Ben Arnold for Yahoo Movies UK writes. Arnold also notes Hart reportedly turned down a role in the 2008 comedy "Tropic Thunder" because his character was gay and the behavior was "real flagrant."

IndieWire notes that the 2019 Oscars could feature a number of LGBTQ related nominations, including films for "Boy Erased," "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" as well as an acting nomination for Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody," as well as one for LGBTQ advocate Lady Gaga for her turn in "A Star is Born."

Though this is the first time the "Ride Along" star has hosted the Oscars, Hart has had similar gigs, hosting the BET Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and the MTV Movie and TV Awards.

Hart has not commented on the backlash, but said he will "be sure to make this year's Oscars a special one."

"I appreciate The Academy for the opportunity... now it's time to rise to the occasion," he said in a statement.

The 91st Academy Awards are held on Feb. 24, 2019.

Watch Hart make his comments about his son below.

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