Recently, celebrities’ past hateful tweets has been resurfacing and has sparked huge controversies among people, especially to those who were seriously offended by the tweets. The 2019 Academy Awards went host-free due to the Kevin Hart’s (host-to-be, comedian and actor) tweet from 2011 and his stand-up in 2010 were revealed to contain homophobic slurs, including the word “Fat Fag.” Not only that, on last July, the director of the famous Marvel franchise “Guardians of the Galaxy,” James Gunn was fired by Disney because of his past tweets in 2009 and 2010 joked on rapes and pedophilia. These are just a few. There are several celebrities that lost their job and reputation due to their past offensive remarks. So while you’re reading this, you may think, “So what’s your opinion on this? Are you with the ‘Oh it was nearly 10 years ago, get over with it’ side or ‘They should pay for their past mistakes?’”
Although I do think it is quite weird that heated argument on celebrities’ past tweets uploaded nearly 10 years ago are happening just recently, there are so many questions revolving around the issue that I think “simply judging an individual” is not the best way to resolve this matter. Certainly, a lot of people were hurt and disappointed by the fact that their favorite celebrities used to be socially insensitive. So I do get where the both sides are coming from, but I’m not here to talk about whether people really “change.” The real problem here is the celebrities’ poor handling of the situation. They have given messy apologies to the angry public.
For Kevin Hart, it was the Instagram post he posted right after the surge of criticism: “Our world is becoming beyond crazy and I’m not gonna let the craziness frustrate me…If you don’t believe people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you.” While he was still given a chance to host the Academy if he rightfully apologized to the public, choose not to do it because he “had already apologized in the past.” But people didn’t find his past apology very appealing. His apology was full of the whole “people change” idea, which I personally don’t entirely disagree with it, but it’s just that the apology to the LGBTQ+ communities should have come first as the past remarks he made online doesn’t “change.”
For the director James Gunn, his apology goes like this: “Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo… I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today.” Again, Gunn starts with explaining that he’s not the person people think he is, that it was his way of “joke.” But that’s not what people want to hear, people want to see that he knows the seriousness of his past deeds, and wishes to not make the same mistakes over again. Though he managed to be re-hired by Disney on March, I think this is merely due to Disney being afraid of taking risks for the next Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 as the previous ones were huge success.
Really, messy apologies are what made this whole thing worse. It would have been much better for both the public and the celebrity if there was a proper sincere apology. This reminds me with the quote “Your apology needs to be as loud as your disrespect was.”