Don Lemon urges Kevin Hart to become ‘ally’ of LGBT community

CNN anchor Don Lemon urged Kevin Hart on Friday night to become an "ally" for the LGBT community after the actor this week expressed openness to returning as host of the Oscars.

"We need to talk about how people who may have messed up can become allies, as well," Lemon, who is openly gay, said on "CNN Tonight."

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"Because 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."

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Hart, a comedian, stepped down from hosting the Oscars last month following an uproar over anti-gay tweets and comments from his past. 

Lemon weighed in Friday after Hart appeared for an interview with Ellen DeGeneres this week and expressed a desire to move on from the controversy.

But the CNN anchor argued that it was problematic that Hart described outrage over his tweets as attacks on his character.

"To many they seem insincere, and that he has somehow turned himself into a victim instead of acknowledging the real victims of violent and sometimes deadly homophobia," Lemon said.

"Walking away right now, that is your choice, but many of us need to keep the conversation going," he added. "It’s life or death. Someone like Kevin Hart can be a leader, the ultimate change agent, he can help change homophobia in the black community."

Hart posted a message to Instagram about "growth" following Lemon's criticism, without specifically naming Lemon.

"When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge. You can’t change without a understanding of what GROWTH means," Hart wrote in a post, alongside a picture naming several occupations, including CEOs and doctors, who have to learn before they can master their jobs.

 

 

Hart said in a video posted to Instagram on Dec. 6 that he was asked to either apologize or the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would find another host for the Oscars.

"So I just got a call from the Academy, and that call basically said, 'Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old, or we’re going to have to move on and find another host' ... I chose to pass, I pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times," he said.

During an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" this week, the daytime talk host asked Hart to reconsider hosting the Oscars. Afterward, Hart said DeGeneres "put a lot of things on my mind" and he would be "evaluating this conversation."

Lemon said Friday that DeGeneres, who is also gay, is a trailblazer and that having Hart on her show was "an olive branch" but said that she doesn't speak for the whole LGBT community.

"We need to speak up for the young black kids in the LGBTQ community," Lemon said. "I'm saying these issues need to be addressed. Because [LGBTQ youth] need to know that they have value and it’s OK to be who they are. We have to stop low key co-signing homophobia. It’s not cool. We won’t tolerate jokes that do otherwise."

— Updated 12:35 p.m.