This article has been updated since it’s original publication.
While numerous leftists and LGBTQ activists have celebrated comedian Kevin Hart stepping down from hosting the 2019 Oscars over past jokes about fear over his son becoming gay, he has at least one lone defender: trans actor MJ Rodriguez.
Speaking to Variety, Rodriguez said that Hart would still make a “wonderful host” despite his past jokes and asked people to just forgive him and move on.
“I’m a big fan of Kevin Hart and I know that he probably didn’t mean any malice by it but I mean I think an apology is due if it hasn’t been given before,” Rodriguez said. “I think maybe it would be something nice. And if he doesn’t, I don’t think we should hold him accountable, I think we should just remember and forgive him.”
Hart had been given a chance to remain a host only if he would apologize for his past jokes. In an Instagram video, Hart explained that he “passed on the apology” because he had previously apologized. “I chose to pass. I passed on the apology,” said Hart. “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it. I’ve done it. I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I moved on. I’m in a completely different space in my life.”
Rodriguez said he would not hold his lack of apology against him. “I’m not gonna hold that against him, I think he’s a wonderful host,” the Pose star said. “I don’t think he should be obligated or anything should be held against him for the past decisions he’s made. We have to all be open with our hearts you know?”
Later, MJ Rodriguez walked back the remarks and apologized for defending Hart:
Comedians have been mixed in their response to Kevin Hart’s firing. Some say he should have apologized while others felt he got a raw deal.
Comedian Billy Eichner tweeted: “Wow. Just…wow. Does he realize he signed up to host the OSCARS? You wanna tweet ‘jokes’ about gay bashing your own son I guess that’s your choice but at the very least, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!!!”
“I’m no saint. We just wanted a little understanding, a little explanation,” Eichner later said. “Apologies are tough – they leave you vulnerable. Toxic masculinity is real. I deal with it in my own way too. So on that note, I appreciate @KevinHart4real apologizing. And apology accepted. That’s all.”
Comedian Ricky Gervais, a strong free speech supporter who has continually blasted political correctness, pulled no punches. “Dear c***s in charge of The Oscars, let me host your show, and I promise I won’t offend anyone. Not even Mel Gibson, who you nominated last year,” he tweeted.
“The only time I’m offended by a comedian is when they apologise,” Gervais added.
What about black racialists? Are they coming to Hart’s defense by decrying the Oscars as racists? Not at all. Over at The Root, Isaac Bailey said the 39-year-old comedian had it coming for failing to do the right thing.
“He messed up by refusing to do what was easy and right,” said Bailey. “As others have noted, he should have simply apologized again for the old tweets because a new, larger audience would be hearing about the tweets and his apology for the first time. Someone in his management team should have whispered that sage advice in his ear before he became history’s shortest-lived Oscars host.”