Kevin Hart had opportunities to apologize for his homophobic jokes in the past, but never did. Instead, he would explain why he would not tell those kind of jokes again, without ever saying the word "sorry."
"They want to make something out of nothing," Hart said of his critics at the time. "So if you give people an admission, which is a reply, which is a constant excuse or a constant apology, you're setting yourself up for more comments."
Hart later said, "Here's why I draw a line at homosexuality. Homosexuality is now in a place where it's not a joke to them — and I don't like to use the word them, OK? The words and terms that were used at a certain point of time are considered slander, or considered violent terms due to the fact of all the hate crimes that have been had and all the verbal attacks people have had."
Hart told Gordon, who did not specifically bring up Hart's past jokes in the clip TMZ published, that he does not "personally" think homophobic jokes are funny so he does not joke about it.
"I don't want that problem. I don't need any enemies at all," Hart said, later noting that he has seen careers ended because of criticism of homophobic jokes.
"I don't want any problems, man. I understand it and I agree with it and I definitely get why it is now a serious thing," Hart said. "So I don't mess with it."
In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Hart was directly asked about a controversial joke from his 2010 special Seriously Funny, in which he told his audience, "One of my biggest feats is my son growing up and being gay."
Hart told Rolling Stone the joke was more about his personal fears of doing something wrong as a father.
"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," he said, defending the joke. "That’s the difference between bringing a joke across that’s well thought-out and saying something just to ruffle feathers."
However, Hart later told Rolling Stone he would not make that joke again, repeating the point he made in the Gordon interview.
“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," Hart explained. "These things become public spectacles. So why set yourself up for failure?”
On Tuesday, Hart was hired to host the 91st Academy Awards in February. However, his controversial, years-old homophobic jokes resurfaced as he was reportedly deleting the tweets. Hart initially refused to apologize or step down, telling people to "stop looking for reasons to be negative" and "stop searching for seasons to be angry."
Hours later after he posted messages on Instagram though, Hart took to Twitter late Thursday night to formally resign from hosting the Oscars.
"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," Hart tweeted. "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."