Casting Aspersions – EXTRA
Editor’s Note: This Casting Aspersions was the last article to be written by Out In Jersey Editor Emeritus Toby Grace. He penned this on January 5, 2019. He passed away earlier this month. We post it here in remembrance of Toby Grace.
Kevin Hart is a genuinely funny comedian. He draws his material from the absurdities of daily life, as do the best humorists of all times. His comments about gay people however, were not funny — not in the least. As one example, in a 2010 performance he said “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.” He also said if he ever found his son playing with his daughter’s doll house he would “break it over his head because that’s gay.”
Suddenly these remarks and others of a similar nature have surfaced and caused him to withdraw from hosting this year’s Oscar event. He has also publicly apologized for his homophobic comments. The inimitable Ellen has come to his defense and in turn has herself faced a backlash of social media comment excoriating her for defending a homophobe. That’s the Kevin Hart situation in a nutshell.
Kevin Hart’s role in the Oscar production — indeed his entire career — is a matter of complete indifference to me. While I admit Hart is indeed funny, I’m not a fan because I’m old fashioned about vulgar language. It offends me. As for the Oscars — yawn — I’ll find out who won on the morning news. What concerns me about the whole affair is the unwillingness of many in our LGBT community to accept an apology and move on.
There is of course that which no apology can erase — injury so terrible that forgiveness would be beyond most people’s capacity. “I’m sorry” cannot wipe away the Holocaust, for an extreme example. Granted even in the most terrible situations, there can be those who rise to angelic levels of compassion. You may recall those Amish school children who were massacred by a crazed gunman some few years ago and how the Amish community rose as one to forgive. Wow. I couldn’t have done it. Most people, I think, could not have risen to that level. It requires a very special sort of enlightenment to be that humane and it is not given to many. In the matter at hand it is not required.
Kevin Hart didn’t massacre anyone. All he did was make some stupid comments for which he has apologized. What do you want him to do now? Wear a scarlet letter? Crawl barefoot in the snow? Resign from show business and become a monk? The man said he was sorry. That his apology may have been at least in part motivated by this Oscar business is irrelevant. We don’t know his motives and cannot read his mind. All we know is what he said; “I’m sorry.”
“Forgive as you would be forgiven” is good advice from the Bible. Is there anyone among us who has not done or said something stupid and needed to be forgiven? Let that perfect person step forward and criticize Kevin Hart. For the rest of us mere mortals, we need to accept his apology and move on lest we ourselves commit the offense of self-righteousness and that of hardness of heart. In forgiving Kevin Hart, we also forgive ourselves.