Comedian Kevin Hart has some pretty open-minded and nuanced thoughts on so-called “cancel culture” — a.k.a. “publicly rejecting, boycotting, or ending support for particular people or groups because of their socially or morally unacceptable views or actions,” according to Dictionary.com — and they’re well worth reading.
Namely, Hart thinks that though there occasionally is a time for it, it’s far too widespread and too easily invoked now.
Hart tells the Times that he does feel that if “somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached.”
However, Hart says, “When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ … Shut the fuck up! What are you talking about?”
When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time? I don’t understand. I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees.
Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from fucking up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t fucked up or done some dumb shit.
The comedian is looking at the subject not through a political lens so much as he sees it as an issue of basic human fairness.
At one point in the interview, Hart compares cancel culture to jail, saying, “People get locked up so they can be taught a lesson. When they get out, they are supposed to be better. But if they come out and people go, ‘I’m not giving you a job because you were in jail’ — then what the fuck did I go to jail for?”
“That was my punishment — how do you not give those people a shot?” Hart continues, “They’re saying that all life should be over because of a mistake? Your life should end and there should be no opportunity to change? What are you talking about? And who are you to make that decision?”
“It’s okay to not like what someone did and to say that person wasn’t for me,” Hart admits to the Times before noting that we “are so caught up in everybody feeling like they have to be right and their way is the only way.”
The Jumanji star and his friends have faced “cancelation” more than once.
“I’ve been canceled, what, three or four times?” Hart says, but it “never bothered” him.
“If you allow [cancel culture] to have an effect on you,” Hart says, “it will. Personally? That’s not how I operate. I understand people are human. Everyone can change.”
While Kevin Hart is, at 41, an astute observer of the world around us (as are most comedians), it’s clear this subject is pretty personal to him — and it’s hard to argue with what he says.
But it will take a lot more than one comedian taking a moment to be earnest about the subject to put the genie back in the bottle. Cancel Culture may not necessarily be here to stay, but it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere, either.