Kevin Hart and bad celebrity apologies of 2018
Comedian Kevin Hart recently found out that sincere celebrity apologies can go a long way after his homophobic tweets cost him a stint at hosting the 2019 Oscars.
It also showed that the Internet can be pretty unforgiving of celebrities who commit mistakes and then double down on them, from Roseanne Barr to Lena Dunham.
No celebrity apologies, doubling-down
Brian Raferty, writing for Wired, pointed out that Hart’s old homophobic tweets weren’t the problem, some of them dating back to 2011.
“A sincere apology– coupled with evidence that he’d matured and learned since those older jokes– possibly could have helped him,” Raferty pointed out.
“But then, just as things were getting bad, Hart did something truly stupid: He decided to go back online,” he added as Hart became “defensive, and completely dismissive of the growing pushback.”
Eventually, Hart apologized to the LGBTQ community for what he said, but the damage had been done.
Celebrity apologies in 2018, redux
Celebrities apologizing after committing major faux pas are nothing new, of course, especially in today’s age of Twitter and YouTube.
While we’ve seen a lot of these in the past years, this year alone had YouTube personality Logan Paul apologizing with a lot of tears after he filmed a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest.
The Daily Dot’s Audra Schroeder did a run down of those who apologized for their past acts, from beauty vlogger Laura Lee to comedians Aziz Ansari and Louis CK and TV show writer Dan Harmon.
Schroeder cited a study analyzing 32 YouTube apologies from 2009-2014 that found that “Audiences were non-forgiving if the apology was perceived as insincere, but forgiving if they perceived the apology as sincere.”
However, she asks, “But is it that simple?”
No more celebrity apologies please
Morgan Jerkins of Rolling Stone grumbled that this whole routine of celebrities apologizing isn’t coming from the right place.
This is because, Jerkins said, “More times than not, a celebrity will yield to public pressure so that their image and career opportunities– i.e., their income– will not be jeopardized.”
But he also cited Durham’s list of public mistakes and how she managed to benefit from this confessional mode.
Durham’s “constant carelessness towards other people with regards to racial and sexual politics, along with her wash-rinse-repeat cycle of penitence,” Jerkins wrote, “reflects a larger part of internet apology culture: online, a demonstration of growth or moral improvement is just that — a performance.”
“In a span of a single week, she has garnered a profile on The Cut and a guest editor gig at The Hollywood Reporter. Redeeming herself is lucrative business,” he pointed out.