Another day, another controversy. This time around, it involves one of TV’s most beloved talk show hosts, Ellen Degeneres. This past Friday, Ellen had former 2019 Oscar host Kevin Hart on her show. During the interview, Hart once again tried to explain and justify his actions following the revelation of homophobic tweets that he tweeted 8 to 10 years ago. Ellen took it upon herself to pardon Kevin Hart for his past actions and even tried to persuade him to rethink his stance on hosting the 2019 Oscars.
While from the surface this all sounds like it was a great thing for both Hart and the LGBTQ+ community, what we as consumers of entertainment and social media have to understand is that Degeneres did not have a right to pardon Hart. Yes, Ellen is a prominent lesbian and member of the community, but she is not the member that these tweets were directed to. Kevin Hart’s tweets targeted black gay men and because of this, Degeneres pardoning him on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community is completely disrespectful.
Homophobia is very prevalent in the black community. Black gay men are some of the most underrepresented people within the LGBTQ+ community. They often deal with the lack of acceptance and violence more than other members of the community. Kevin Hart, a prominent black male celebrity promoted these acts that black gay men have had to struggle to overcome. If Kevin wants to give a genuine apology for these tweets, he needs to give it to someone like Don Lemon, a black gay man who more than likely has experienced his fair share of homophobia from the black community.
Let’s hope people can learn from this controversy and create a conversation about the homophobia that exists within groups in the LGBTQ+ community.