Well, it looks like the Outrage Mafia has struck again. This time, they targeted actor and comedian Kevin Hart, who was recently selected to host the 2019 Oscar’s ceremony. Unfortunately, it appears the Academy’s announcement motivated some in the Outrage Community to comb through Hart’s social media and dig up old tweets in order to spark a controversy.
Homophobic tweets from about nine years ago surfaced shortly after the comedian was chosen to host the Academy Awards Show next year. One of the now-deleted tweets read:
“Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.”
Hart has also commented on homosexuality in relation to his son in a 2010 special. “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay,” he said. “That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, do what you want to to, but me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my song from being gay, I will.”
At first, the celebrity pushed back against the social media outrage mob, but it didn’t take long for him to wave the white flag of apology.
Hart Pushes Back Against The Outrage Mob
When the outrage over his tweets began, Hart initially pushed back and refused to apologize. In a video he posted on Instagram, he said:
“I chose to pass on the apology. 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’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different place in my life.”
Later, he posted another statement on Instagram telling the purveyors of outrage to “Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry.” He also told them to “Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive.”
Unfortunately, Hart’s defiance did not last long.
Later in the day — likely at the behest of his management team — Hart gave in and issued an apology. The comedian took to Twitter and said:
I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
I’m sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
While there were plenty of famous individuals who defended Hart, it appears the smear campaign was too much to bear.
When Will We Stop Waving The White Flag?
As you might already know, outrage culture has become a powerful force in American society. Indeed, it has turned into a juggernaut of immense proportions, one that can end a career and destroy a person’s life in a matter of days. One only needs to ask Roseanne Barr. In this case, the pressure was too much for even Kevin Hart, who has millions of fans who don’t actually care about ancient tweets.
There are some instructive lessons that we can learn from this story. The first is that giving in to the mob does not help the individual or society as a whole. Apologies typically do not mollify the people who claim to be angry at a comment you made. Indeed, it is just a symbol of surrender that they will use to further attack you.
Of course, if you believe you have legitimately made a statement that is truly offensive, it is appropriate to try to make amends. However, allowing a rabid group of social media warriors to compel you to issue an apology that is likely insincere is not likely to protect you from further attacks.
Moreover, submitting to the outrage does not help anyone else. Let’s face it, outrage nowadays is largely manufactured for political purposes. It has become a cultural weapon designed to destroy those with whom you disagree, and it seems to primarily target those who are not on the left. Remember when someone dug up old blog posts full of homophobic remarks written by MSNBC Anchor Joy Reid?
Reid’s comments were far worse than any that Hart made, and yet, she was allowed to get away with it, even when she lied about being hacked. Indeed, the discovery of these blog posts elicited only a modicum of consternation from her compatriots on the progressive left.
However, we cannot ignore the fact that manufactured outrage also exists on the right. It’s why you see so many clickbait headlines on conservative news sites complaining about the latest offense committed by someone on the progressive left. We have to make sure we are not also contributing to this political climate.
If people continue to give in to social media mobs, it will only encourage these individuals to continue using outrage as a weapon, and they will only add more to tension between Americans on both sides of the political divide.