CNN anchor Don Lemon delivered an emotional message to Kevin Hart on the importance of being an LGBTQ ally ― especially in the black community ― after the comedian made a controversial appearance on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” this week.
On Friday’s “CNN Tonight,” Lemon addressed Hart’s withdrawn Oscars-hosting gig, which Hart gave up last month after old homophobic tweets and jokes came to light. Both DeGeneres and Hart received wide criticism for their on-air conversation this week, in which the host, who is gay, forgave Hart after he apologized.
Lemon didn’t think an apology was enough.
“Apologizing and moving on does not make the world a better place for people who are gay or people who are transgender. Being an ally does,” Lemon said during the segment.
In the talk show interview, DeGeneres urged Hart to consider hosting the ceremony again, while Hart charged that the resurfacing of his past remarks after landing the hosting gig was meant to “destroy” him.
“The next morning, after a day full of congratulations and celebrations, I’m hit with an onslaught on social media of my past,” he said.
Lemon opened the segment of his show Friday by saying that as a member of the black LGBTQ community, he felt “obligated” to speak out on the Hart controversy.
The anchor pointed to a joke from Hart’s 2010 standup special “Seriously Funny,” in which the comedian referenced his son saying “every kid has a gay moment” and then said he had to “nip it in the bud.”
Lemon also addressed the apology Hart made after announcing he was stepping down from the hosting the Oscars, his initial stance of not apologizing after his jokes resurfaced, and his contested claim on “Ellen” that he has addressed and apologized for his offensive jokes in past.
“Kevin, if anything, this is the time to hear other people out,” the anchor said. “To understand why they might have been offended. And I don’t see any meaningful outreach to the LGBT community. Not that I know of. Maybe you do it privately, and if you do, then I congratulate you, but nothing that you have spoken of.”
Lemon later addressed the “life and death” consequences of homophobia, particularly for LGBTQ people of color who are disproportionately victims of violence.
He also noted that while DeGeneres, who he referred to as a “trailblazer” in the LGBTQ community, forgave Hart, she does not “speak for the whole community.”
“We need to speak up for the young black people, especially young black men ― kids, in the LGBT community,” he added.
He later stressed the importance not “low-key co-signing homophobia.”
“It is not cool,” he said. “And we won’t tolerate jokes that tell those youth otherwise.”