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With Kevin Hart’s downfall, hosting the Oscars got harder



With Kevin Harts downfall hosting the Oscars got harder

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The “most thankless job in town” just got even more difficult.

The Oscars have a longstanding host problem, but Kevin Hart’s swift downfall over old anti-gay tweets has led to bigger questions about the gig and the liability of social media histories.

It’s just the latest controversy for the organization that puts on the Academy Awards, which is trying to combat declining ratings for its marquee event while weathering the pressure of being a focal point for the shortcomings of the entertainment industry as a whole.

“I think it’s embarrassing,” Matthew Belloni, the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, said about the academy’s decision to pick Hart. “It shows that they either didn’t vet this host properly, or they did vet him and didn’t think this would be an issue. And both are a little troubling.”

Hart seemed to fit the bill for what the academy was looking for.

“He checks all the boxes for a show like the Oscars,” Belloni said. “He’s a legitimate movie star. He’s a funny guy and can handle the stand-up element of the show. And he has a gigantic social following. And to the academy, that’s important. They want someone who can bring a new audience to the show.”

But Oscars hosts have always been subjected to a lot of scrutiny.

Poor or even mediocre performances can haunt people for years (Anne Hathaway and James Franco). Off-color jokes have a way of festering in the cultural consciousness (think of Seth MacFarlane’s “we saw your boobs” song, or Chris Rock’s Asian jokes). And even when things go decently enough, everyone is handed the right envelope and nobody walks away offended, the hosts can still be blamed for poor ratings.

“Oscars host has become a not very desirable job in Hollywood. Very few people see an upside,” Belloni said. “You put a huge target on your back.”

People have stepped down from being the public face of the event amid controversy, as producer Brett Ratner did in 2011 for anti-gay slurs. But Hart’s case is a little different. Ratner’s offensive remarks came after he had secured the gig. Hart’s tweets were from almost a decade ago and were well known.

But in 2018, an unsavory social media past can cost someone their job. Just this past summer, the Walt Disney Co. fired director James Gunn from the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie for old tweets in which he joked about subjects including rape and pedophilia. As with Hart, the problematic tweets were amplified by social media outrage.

Immediately after Hart was confirmed as host on Tuesday night, some journalists began tweeting reminders of Hart’s past comments. By Thursday morning, a few publications had written articles about them. The outrage escalated, Hart commented but did not apologize, stoking even more outrage, which culminated with Hart’s announcement on Thursday night that he was stepping down as host of the 91st Academy Awards.

As the dust settles, the situation has proved vexing for some in the entertainment business. Actor D.L. Hughley commended Hart for his decision.

“A Comedian says something that offends people and refuses to apologize?” Hughley tweeted. ”(Expletive) ’em if they can’t take a joke! Well done #KevinHart.” Snoop Dogg posted an even more colorful Instagram video in support of Hart.

The advocacy organization GLAAD wishes Hart hadn’t stepped down, however.

“Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

The film academy has yet to address Hart’s departure. Hart said the film academy told him he had to apologize or he’d lose the gig. He bowed out on his own, and with an apology.

Now everyone has an opinion about who should be named host. A woman? A comedian? Not a comedian? Someone in the LGBTQ community? All of the above?

Many keep coming back to Whoopi Goldberg, who has hosted the awards four times. Some have said Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted one of the Oscars’ highest-rated shows, or Tom Hanks, who has a longstanding academy relationship.

Others have said Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele, Will Smith or Lin-Manuel Miranda. Busy Phillips threw her own name out there (“I AM AVAILABLE,” she tweeted). Philips also proposed Issa Rae, Sarah Silverman, Ali Wong, Samantha Bee, Robin Thede and Aisha Tyler, or “any other woman working in Hollywood right now who wants to.” Stephen King suggested Patton Oswalt (He’s “funny, sharp-tongued, and he knows film,” King tweeted.) Some have even proposed Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty. Or no host at all, which has been done several times before, and as recently as 1989.

But the film academy will need to move quickly. The 91st Oscars are less than three months out.


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter.

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Kamala Harris stutters through non-answer when asked about her Jussie Smollett Tweet



Kamala Harris stutters through non-answer when asked about her Jussie Smollett Tweet

In one of the most cringeworthy moments of Senator Kamala Harris’s new presidential campaign, the California Democrat found herself hesitant and uncertain about her feelings towards Jussie Smollett’s apparent hate-crime hoax. This is in stark contrast to her bold and racially charged accusations of a “modern day lynching” allegedly perpetrated by two Nigerian actors at the request of Smollett himself.

Above, you can see her attempt to calm the situation and state that facts are still emerging about the case. Of course, this is three weeks after the alleged incident, which is strange since her response the moment the news broke seemed to express zero interest in waiting for facts to emerge.

“. is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery. This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.”

This is the latest minefield Democrats find themselves traversing after quickly reacting to false claims. It happened with the Covington Catholic School boys. It’s happened far too many times since President Trump ran for President in 2016.

The anti-MAGA hoax epidemic’s a trend that’s been quietly, consistently rearing its ugly head against the President of the United States and his supporters since before the 2016 election. We’ve seen it among unhinged journalists, virtue-signaling celebrities, and Democratic politicians. We’ve seen it manifest in the ugliest form of hatred – the common hate-hoax – and it’s doing more to divide America than the source of the perpetrators’ anger.

They hate President Trump. They hate the people who got him elected. The hate the idea of making America great again because as much of the MAGA agenda comes to pass, they’re learning they’ve been wrong the whole time. I know first hand. I’ve been proven wrong myself.

It doesn’t take a skilled orator or ethical paragon to say, “I reacted too quickly before. I should have waited for all of the facts to come out before reacting emotionally.” Of course, doing so requires humility, which Kamala Harris apparently does not have.


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President Trump lowers himself to SNL’s level every time he gives them attention



President Trump lowers himself to SNLs level every time he gives them attention

Many conservatives have been in the midst of a conundrum since the 2016 election. On one hand, there are things to like about President Trump’s agenda as he cuts bureaucracy, reduces our tax burden, and addresses certain foreign policy issues appropriately. On the other hand, he has the temperament of a high school student at times and seems reluctant to act like the President of the United States.

The latest example of his willingness to dive into the fray with unimportant but insulting entities is his ongoing war with SNL and NBC.

My advice to the President:

Seriously, Mr. President, please just ignore them. Yes, they insult you. Yes, they mock you. Yes, they hate you. But you’re doing them a favor when you pay so much attention to them just because they were able to prick below your paper-thin skin. Collusion? No. It’s comedy, and not very funny comedy at that. There’s nothing they can do to actually hurt you in the eyes of the American public because those who are still watching aren’t your friends anyway. Even if some of your allies are watching, it’s not like they’re saying to themselves, “Man, I liked Trump but now that I’ve seen Alex Baldwin’s latest skit, I’m changing my mind.”

This is below the President. It’s so far below the President that much lesser-known people who get made fun of by SNL have the common sense to either ignore it or play along with the gag. President Trump is one of the few people of power who actually takes SNL seriously enough to draw as much attention to them as possible. It’s counterproductive and will only make them want to attack more often.

How many people actually watched the skit before the President Tweeted it? Now, he’s chosen to make the skit go viral, emboldening Baldwin and the whole SNL crew into wanting to make fun of him even more. It’s one of the saddest displays of inappropriate attention being given to something so far below the White House it’s a wonder that he took the time to Tweet about it, let along watch it and get masses of others to watch it as well.

Every time he gives SNL this level of attention, all he does is reaffirm what his detractors already think while making his supporters scratch their head wondering why the most powerful man in the world is whining about a comedy sketch.


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This old Tweet by Jussie Smollett may have been prescient as a condemnation of his gullible supporters



This old Tweet by Jussie Smollett may have been prescient as a condemnation of his gullible supporte

As the walls (and possibly law enforcement) continue to close in on actor Jussie Smollett following reports he hoaxed the world by pretending to be attacked by Trump supporters, a Tweet from 2016 is quite interesting.

In today’s context, this quote would demonize those who believed Smollett’s suspicious claims without even considering the possibility they could be made up. It’s one thing to think Trump supporters are racist. It’s another to take this belief and use it as intellectual cover to blind one to obvious truths. Smollett seems to be calling out the very people who have supported him.


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