Controversial Comments

Past statements should not have current repercussions

Lorelei Jacobs, Reporter

  As we enter into March, we also dive deeper into the digital age. This comes with consequences. Every year it seems like there is a new controversy surrounding a statement that a celebrity has made, particularly in the past 10 years.

In December 2018, actor Kevin Hart made the decision to step down from hosting the 91st Annual Oscars Award Show. This decision was made after a homophobic statement Hart tweeted in 2011 resurfaced and has caused much controversy.

Hart is not the first victim of such controversy. Many other celebrities, including Samuel L. Jackson, Kathy Griffin and Jeffree Star have paid the prices of their past statements. If statements made in the past have already been apologized for, then why are the consequences happening now? This is similar to a law term called double jeopardy. Double jeopardy prevents victims from being prosecuted for the same crime twice. Hart already apologized for the tweet on Dec. 6 saying, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”

In a 2015 Rolling Stone article, Hart addressed his homophobic comments. He defended his homophobic stand-up comedy by saying, “I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now. I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals, because we can.”

While these tweets may have been posted a while ago, they are still relevant because they discuss topics that are widely talked about today. Celebrities are given a platform that they can use for good or evil, preferably good, and Twitter can play a major factor in this. Just like in any controversy, when this platform is taken advantage of, there are typically two sides to the story. While some agree with the punishments made, some believe it is too extreme.

For example, take Roseanne Barr who had just made her return to television in March of 2017 with her own show, Roseanne. The season ended abruptly when Roseanne made a racist tweet towards Valerie Jarrett, former aide to President Trump. One single tweet resulted in the cancellation of the show, but later premiered under a new title without Barr.

In this instance, the consequence was appropriate. However, it becomes harmful to a person’s reputation when the consequence of their action ruins their career. James Gunn, director of The Guardians of the Galaxy and The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, was fired from directing the third movie earlier in 2018. The Hollywood Reporter states that The Daily Caller pulled up the tweets that Gunn had posted in 2008 and 2009.

Gunn apologized saying that “They [the tweets] don’t reflect the person I am today.” This is something that people are too quick to judge. People will inevitably change over time and it is not something we can avoid. When a person says something questionable, then sincerely apologizes for it shortly after, society should not be so quick to put them on blast.

From a young age we are all taught to say something nice or nothing at all. When we say something incorrect, we apologize for it. If celebrities’ apologies continue to be ignored then soon they will not be apologizing for the controversial things they say as they will feel their apologies appear to have no meaning to the public. While the average member of society can be forgiven for their mistakes, celebrities do not receive the same commodity.

These controversial tweets are still upsetting people because many think that even though there have been apologies, the tweet should not have been made in the first place. Some people in society believe that the apologies are not sincere regardless of the way the celebrity expresses the apology.

Taking the time to reflect on how you have changed as a person allows time to understand that celebrities are human too and will continue to change and grow. Paying attention to apologies is necessary for any controversy to have closure. Just because a celebrity’s tweets are under meticulous inspection under the public eye does not mean we can disregard sincere apologies. When we ignore the apologies and continue to reprimand these celebrities, we end up tampering with a person’s career.