Oscar-Winner Kevin Kline Defends Kevin Hart as Host

Not everyone thought Kevin Hart's old, homophobic tweets were reason enough to oust him from his role as the host of the upcoming Oscar Awards. Academy Award winner Kevin Kline told TMZ that people need to "lighten up" when it comes to forgiving stand-up comedians for old jokes.

"People have been making jokes about gay people, about Jews, about Afro-Americans — times are changing, but you know, at certain times, that was common fodder for standup comedians," Kline, 71, told TMZ. "But I think Kevin Hart's very funny. Lighten up!"

Regardless of who hosts, however, it won't make a difference to the A Fish Named Wanda star, who said, "I'll watch my usual 10 minutes."

kevin-kline_getty-Theo Wargo : Staff
(Photo: Theo Wargo / Staff, Getty)

Comedian Michael Blackson also showed support for Hart, saying that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is partly to blame for the incident.

"Why are they giving him a job without looking him up first?" Blackson told TMZ. "Especially black comedians, we've all said things in our lifetime, where it was 10, 20 years ago ... at that particular moment it's probably what was a hot topic to talk about. Go back to the '80s — Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor — they made every comment about everything. We've all made mistakes. There are no perfect black comedians."

"There is one perfect black comedian who never said the wrong thing, and look where he is — he's in jail!" Blackson added, referencing Bill Cosby.

Comedian and actor Nick Cannon also spoke out in support of Hart on Friday by digging up old tweets from Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler that included homophobic language.

"Interesting," he wrote as he retweeted a tweet from Handler containing the word "f—." "I wonder if there was any backlash here..."

"And I f—ing love Wreck It Ralph!!!" he wrote alongside a similar tweet from Silverman. Next to Schumer's offensive tweet, he wrote, "I'm just saying... should we keep going???"

Hart backed out of hosting the Oscars just days after taking to social media to tout his achievement of landing the gig last week. He was quickly criticized after tweets surfaced from 2009 to 2011 that included derogatory language referring to gay people.

"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscars," Hart said on social media Thursday. "This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists."

He continued, "I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past. 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."

Hart said the Academy asked him to apologize for the tweets or else they would find another host. He defiantly refused to apologize and instead stepped down, saying he did not want to contribute to "feeding the internet trolls."


He also said that he has apologized for those tweets several times throughout his career. "The reason why I passed is because I've addressed this several time," he said. "I'm not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I've moved on and I'm in a completely different space in my life."