The street artist Plastic Jesus (you may recall he put Donald Trump’s Walk of Fame star behind bars last September) has struck again, mocking deposed Oscars host Kevin Hart with a gold life-size statue in his likeness, holding an LGBTQ Pride flag.
Hart is depicted standing on a pedestal that bears the words “Hollow Apology”. The statue was erected at La Brea Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, blocks from the theatre where the Academy Awards are to take place on Sunday night.
Said Plastic Jesus of the statue: “Sadly, this year with the current feeling and rhetoric within the US, it seems that it’s now acceptable again to hate someone because of their sexual orientation. We all know many people in Hollywood and the entertainment industry who are LGBTQ, and we should be celebrating diversity, not attacking it like it’s the 1970s again.”
The statue was a collaboration with the artist Joshua “Ginger” Monroe.
Hart stepped down as host of the Oscars in December after past homophobic tweets surfaced online.
Tweeted Hart: “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…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.”
A few days before stepping down, Hart had posted an Instagram video in which he said that he had received a call from the Academy who told him to apologize or lose the hosting gig. Hart said he would “stand [his] ground” and see what happened.
The controversy began after a gay son ‘comedy’ bit from a 2010 stand-up comedy special resurfaced on Twitter.
In the bit, Hart makes a “joke” about not wanting a gay son, saying, “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic. I have nothing against gay people. Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.”
Hart continued, telling the audience he’s worried about “handling his son’s first gay moment correctly,” saying that when your kid has his “first gay moment…you gotta nip it in the bud right then.”
“Hey, stop! That’s gay! Quit it!”, says Hart, to gales of laughter. Hart then goes on to describe seeing another boy “grinding on [his] son’s ass,” telling the audience that he “panicked” and “knocked them both down.”
Several homophobic tweets from Hart resurfaced as well, including one which 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’.”
In a Reddit AMA in 2014, Hart was asked, “You find a lot of comedy in male insecurities, including a famous bit where you express fear that your son will be gay. You praised Frank Ocean at the MTV VMAs in 2012 for having the courage to come out, and recently said in an interview that you don’t do jokes any more about gays. What changed your mind on this subject of humor?”
He replied: “It’s just a sensitive topic and I respect people of all orientations. So, it’s just best left alone.”
He later told Rolling Stone: “It’s about my fear. I’m thinking about what I did as a dad, did I do something wrong, and if I did, what was it? Not that I’m not gonna love my son or think about him any differently. The funny thing within that joke is it’s me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities — I panicked. It has nothing to do with him, it’s about me. That’s the difference between bringing a joke across that’s well thought-out and saying something just to ruffle feathers. I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now. I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals, because we can. These things become public spectacles. So why set yourself up for failure?”
In 2015, Hart said he would never play a gay role because of his own insecurities, revealing that he turned down a spot in 2008’s Tropic Thunder because the role was for a “flagrant” gay character.
Said Hart: “Not because I have any ill will or disrespect, it’s because I feel like I can’t do that because I don’t think I’m really going to dive into that role 100%. Because of the insecurities about myself trying to play that part. Like, would I think people are going to think while I’m trying to do this is going to stop me from playing that part the way that I’m supposed to. ”