Kevin Hart looks back on Oscars controversy and resurfaced homophobic remarks
A year after controversy saw him step down from the Oscars hosting job, Kevin Hart is reflecting on how he could’ve handled the situation better.
Hart, 40, was set to host the Academy Awards in 2019 when resurfaced tweets and stand-up material containing homophobic phrases and sentiments forced him to step down. In a new interview with Men’s Health, Hart says he now sees just why people were so upset about his remarks.
“With the whole Oscars thing, there was a big gap between what I thought the problem was versus what the problem really was,” he said. “I got ten years where I made sure not to joke or play in the way that I did back then because it was a problem. I don’t care if you’re gay or not gay. I’m a people person. I’m going to love you regardless. It wasn’t until close friends like Wanda Sykes, Lee Daniels and Ellen DeGeneres talked to me and explained what they didn’t hear me say that I understood. Then I was like, ‘Oh s—, I did f— up.’”
After Hart was tapped to host the 2019 show, many members of the LGBTQ community started using the hashtag #OscarsSoHomophobic and resurfaced previous tweets in which Hart used anti-gay slang.
A clip from Hart’s 2010 comedy special Seriously Funny, in which he made a homophobic joke, was also sent around. Hart said at the time, “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. 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.”
Hart later went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he said he had already apologized previously for his remarks and felt the new controversy was “an attack to end me.”
“I know who I am,” he said on Ellen. “I know I don’t have a homophobic bone in my body. I know I’ve addressed it, I know I’ve apologized. I know that within my apologies, I’ve taken 10 years to put my apology to work. I’ve yet to go back to that version of the immature comedian that once was. I’ve moved on. I’m cultured. I’m manufactured. I’m a guy that understands now. I look at life through a different lens and because of it, I live life in a different way.”
“I had to address it and apologize and say I understand what those words do and how they hurt,” Hart continued. “I understand why people would be upset, which is why I made the choice to not use them anymore. I don’t joke like that anymore because that was wrong. That was a guy who was just looking for laughs and I don’t do that anymore.”
Hart’s recent self-reflection comes after a scary car crash in early September of last year that left him with major back injuries that required emergency surgery.
The actor said that the accident and his subsequent recovery time in the hospital made him realize that he wanted to spend more time with his family — wife Eniko Parrish and kids Hendrix, 12, Heaven, 14, and Kenzo Kash, 2½.
“Honestly, there’s a lot that I wasn’t doing,” he shared. “Now I’m doing a lot of little things that are important. I’m sitting with the kids before and after dinner. We are doing Taco Tuesdays, Mexican-food Thursdays, Chinese-food Sundays. We got movie night twice a week. Now I’m walking my f—ing dog. I’m picking up dog s—.”
This article originally appeared on People.com