By now many of you have probably heard the news about comic Kevin Hart being asked to host the 91st Academy Awards, then past homophobic tweets being discovered, Hart refusing to apologize for them after being given an ultimatum by the Academy to either do so or step down, and Hart ultimately opting for the latter (and apologizing at that time). As to what will happen now, the Academy is reportedly considering no host.  

Was Hart right to do so? Or should he have issued an apology earlier? A recent survey (which you can read here) in The Hollywood Reporter found American opinion split down the middle with 34% saying he took the correct course of action with 36% saying he should've apologized and 29% coming in with a "don't know".

It becomes necessary in dealing with these speech issues that seemingly crop up daily – like a politically correct whack-a-mole – to make an attempt at establishing context for them. While some statements are always wrong regardless of context, there still remains a whole host of variables to consider, like whether the person apologized at or close to the time when the statements were initially made.

So what was the exact content of the offensive tweets in question, all of which are from nearly 10 years ago when the comedian was 29? Read them in this condensed version below:

Here is a Instagram video from Hart before he stepped down as host after alleged pressure from the Academy to do so:

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Stop looking for reasons to be negative...Stop searching for reasons to be angry....I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people....there is nothing that you can do to change that...NOTHING. I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all....with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love....Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please....What’s understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY.....ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that’s on you....Have a beautiful day

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

Hart says in the video, "If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past — then do you… I'm the wrong guy, man. I'm in a great place, a great mature place where all I do is spread positivity. If you're not doing that, you're not on my page."

In the video's caption, Hart wrote:  "Stop looking for reasons to be negative…Stop searching for reasons to be angry….I swear I wish you guys could see/feel/understand the mental place that I am in. I am truly happy people….there is nothing that you can do to change that…NOTHING."

"I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all….with that being said. If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me… I'm almost 40 years old and I'm in love with the man that I am becoming. You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE. I live to Love….Please take your negative energy and put it into something constructive. Please….What's understood should never have to be said. I LOVE EVERYBODY…..ONCE AGAIN EVERYBODY. If you choose to not believe me then that's on you….Have a beautiful day."

While there can be no excuse for what Hart said, are we willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's became a better person? One would think if he were truly contrite, he would have had no problem with simply apologizing again and then explaining what he did. Hart made a fatal error here in not getting in front of this and merely giving another apology and explaining that he's grown as a person. I firmly believe most people are willing to give a second chance on something like that when true contrition is shown.

That is a HUGE part of what freedom of speech truly is too: personal responsibility. Comedians as a group should really understand this better than most others because without the First Amendment and its analogues in other free countries, the comedian is not eating. His bread and butter is free speech and very often the controversy that comes with that territory.

Understanding that should ultimately lead to an understanding of the personal ethical and moral responsibilities that come with freedom. It is a great edification of the individual to imply (as the US Constitution does) that you as an individual are capable to enough to say what you want and are stable and adult enough to know when to censor yourself and when to apologize for a stupid mistake.  

Yet, there's a more over-arching problem here. Are we going to dig up stupid statements from everyone's past when they get into the limelight for something totally unrelated to their old comments, like hosting the Oscars? Who among us is utterly blameless and perfect when it comes to their words over a month, a year, a decade or a lifetime? It's a part of being human that we all say stupid things at one time or another, it is just now the digital age codifies them for time immemorial.

But do we want those mistakes defining a person for all time? That part has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with us as people.  

We apologize, we attempt to learn from our mistakes and change for the better, and then we move on when these things happen. That's the way it should be. Who wants to live in a world where no second chances exist at all with these things (as has arguably happened with similar cases)? We'd all be screwed. Every last one of us.

The 91st Academy Awards will be Sunday, February 24, 2019 on ABC.