Kevin Hart’s mistake should be a learning lesson for all of us. (Creative Commons)
Kevin Hart is no stranger to controversy. If someone were to bring up the time that the comedian endangered his public image with a boneheaded mistake, the appropriate response would be, “Which one?” So when news broke in late 2018 that a celebrity’s homophobic tweets from a decade ago had resurfaced, it wasn’t exactly shocking to see the handle “@KevinHart4real” above.
In the weeks following the exposure of his past comments, the 39 year-old Philadelphia native was raked through the coals by the general public. And for good reason. Homophobia has never had a place in society, whether the context was a joke or not.
After seeing the backlash, Hart ironically took to Twitter, announcing that he was stepping down from his role as the host of the 2019 Oscars. Desperate to stop the bleeding, he then made an embarrassing appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, on which he angrily labeled the digging up of his tweets as a “malicious attack.” This begs the question: Who could Kevin Hart possibly be mad at? He has no one to blame for the evaporation of his “dream” role as the Oscars host but himself.
On the other hand, Hart’s tweets are way in the rearview mirror. He was still an aspiring comedian at the time, who had not yet struck fame. While these circumstances do not change the nature of his comments, there has been plenty of time for him to change since that period of his life.
Throughout the last few years, Hart has expressed his support for the LGBTQ community and refrained from making such insensitive jokes. Additionally, he has since apologized multiple times for his mistake. But the demons of social media have no sympathy and continue to flaunt their destructive power at Hart’s expense.
Whether Hart should have remained the host of the Oscars has no clear answer, but one thing remains undebatable: the misuse of social media can have career-damaging and life-altering consequences. Our generation knows this well. We have seen countless celebrities torn down by unearthed online findings from their past. We know that it only takes one controversial tweet to ruin someone’s career. We should be the generation to make sure that these situations are no longer a common occurrence.
We teenagers, however, are social media’s biggest users, and we are known for always being on the internet. How could we be the ones to make the change? At the very least, these examples of social media’s dangers should teach us to be more careful.
Today’s society is a relatively unforgiving one. If Hart needed to be the sacrificial lamb to warn everyone that a single mistake can shatter aspirations, then perhaps his plight was a blessing in disguise.
Social media blunders can be forgiven, but they’ll never be forgotten. We are all responsible for the past versions of ourselves, no matter how much growth we’ve undergone since.
Though Hart’s current predicament may seem just to some and unfair to others, it will always serve as a reminder to think twice before posting anything on the internet.