Kevin Hart denounces cancel culture: 'Shut the f--- up! What are you talking about?'
In a new interview with The Sunday Times, Hart said he "personally doesn't give a s---" about cancel culture before speaking at length about the hotly debated subject.
"If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached," Hart said. "But when you just talk about… nonsense? When you're talking, 'Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!' Shut the f--- up! What are you talking about?"
The comedian is no stranger to public criticism. When his tweets and stand-up material containing homophobic phrases and sentiments resurfaced ahead of the 2019 Oscars, he stepped down as host, tweeting that he did not want to be a "distraction."
While Hart apologized to the LGBTQ community "for my insensitive words from my past," when he announced his decision to step down as host, he later said that he had declined an ultimatum from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the governing body in charge of the Oscars, to either apologize or make way for a new host.
"[They] basically said, 'Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old or we're going to have to move on to find another host,'" Hart said in an Instagram video. "I chose to pass, I passed on the apology. The reason why I've passed is that I've addressed it several times." The Oscars ultimately aired that year without a host for the first time since 1989.
In a 2020 interview with Men's Health, Hart said he finally came to realize why people were upset with him at the time. "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.'"
In his interview with the Times on Sunday, Hart said he's been canceled "three of four times," but was "never bothered" by it."
"When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect?" he said. "Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time? I don't understand. I don't expect perfection from my kids. I don't expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from f---ing up. I don't know a kid who hasn't f---ed up or done some dumb s---."
Hart went on to say that comics can't truly express themselves openly for fear of getting canceled. "You're thinking that things you say will come back and bite you on the ass," he said. "I can't be the comic today that I was when I got into this."
He also said people need to stop assuming comics have bad intentions, because "we forgot comedians are going for the laugh."
"You're not saying something to make people angry," Hart explained. "That's not why I'm on stage. I'm trying to make you laugh and if I did not make you laugh I failed. That's my consequence."
Regarding his past tweets, Hart said people can "go ahead" and pull them up.
"There is nothing I can do. You're looking at a younger version of myself," he said. "A comedian trying to be funny and, at that attempt, failing. Apologies were made. I understand now how it comes off. I look back and cringe. So it's growth. It's about growth."
In November, Hart debuted his comedy special Zero F**ks Given, which touched on his 2019 car accident, his infidelity scandal, getting COVID-19, and more. He's also slated to star in a number of new projects, including the upcoming Netflix film Fatherhood, the Borderlands film adaptation, action-comedy The Man from Toronto with Woody Harrelson, and the limited series True Story with Wesley Snipes.