Kevin Hart experienced cancel culture firsthand when controversial jokes from his past resurfaced ahead of his gig hosting the 91st Academy Awards. The comedian exited the Oscars in the wake of the media blitz that surrounded his past jokes, but it took a while for Hart to issue a straightforward apology for his “insensitive words.” Now in a new interview with The Sunday Times ahead of the Netflix debut of his new film, “Fatherhood,” Hart railed against cancel culture and said it has led to a loss of freedom in comedy because many comics feel censored by “thinking that things you say will come back and bite you on the ass.”
“If people want to pull up stuff, go back to the same tweets of old, go ahead. There is nothing I can do,” Hart told The Sunday Times. “You’re looking at a younger version of myself. 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.”
Hart continued, “I personally don’t give a shit about [cancel culture]…If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached. But when you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the fuck up! What are you talking about?…When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? 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 fucking up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t fucked up or done some dumb shit.”
Speaking on his own cancellation, Hart said he is “never bothered” whenever his controversial material resurfaces in a present-day context and leads to people trying to cancel him for it. “If you allow it to have an effect on you, it will. Personally? That’s not how I operate,” the comedian said. “I understand people are human. Everyone can change.”
Hart added, “It’s like jail. People get locked up so they can be taught a lesson. When they get out, they are supposed to be better. But if they come out and people go, ‘I’m not giving you a job because you were in jail’ — then what the fuck did I go to jail for? That was my punishment — how do you not give those people a shot? They’re saying that all life should be over because of a mistake? Your life should end and there should be no opportunity to change? What are you talking about? And who are you to make that decision?”
“Fatherhood” launches June 18 on Netflix. Head over to The Sunday Times’ website to read Hart’s latest interview in its entirety.