Kevin Hart is receiving criticism online over a tense moment in an episode of HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted in which rapper Lil Nas X discusses his sexuality.
“He said he was gay,” Hart says in the segment. “So what?”
“It’s not that it’s, like, being forced,” Lil Nas X replies. “I’m growing up to hate this s—. I’m not supposed to ever like this.”
“Hate what?” Hart says. “Why?
“Homosexuality. Gay people. Come on, now,” Lil Nas X says. “If you’re really from the hood, you know.”
Lil Nas went on to further explain his decision to come out, saying that to make the announcement at a time when he was “at the top” shows that “it doesn’t really matter,” but doing it any another time would feel like he was “doing this for attention.”
Since the episode aired, the clip has gone viral online, causing some social media users to call Hart homophobic for “gaslighting” the rapper in the segment.
“I’m very disappointed that lil nas x was subjected to gaslighting about homophobia in this ‘conversation,” wrote Brooke C. Obie, managing editor at Shadow and Act. “He shouldn’t have had to defend himself against the obvious like this.”
Daily Beast editor Goldie Taylor added that Hart “knows exactly what the ‘so what’ is here,” as well as “why a young black boy would closet his sexuality until he believed it was safe.”
“Why not simply listen, give @LilNasX the space and deference to tell his own story,” Taylor tweeted.
Late last year, Hart was similarly accused of homophobia after being announced as host of the 2019 Oscars ceremony. Critics pointed to past tweets, including one in which the comic claimed he would break a doll house over his son’s head if he exhibited homosexual behavior, as evidence of Hart’s homophobia, and referenced a 2010 standup bit in which he said “one of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay.
Hart initially refused to apologize for his past statements, and stepped down as host of Oscars. Hart later apologized, saying that he wanted to “sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community” for his “insensitive words,” but stayed with his decision to step away from the Oscars.
“I’m not hosting the Oscars this year,” Hart said in an interview with Good Morning America earlier this year. “I would like to call myself a perfectionist, so if I do something, I want to be able to give it my all, and make sure that the production is a great representation of me and my talent. I can’t do that right now.”
Fellow comic Dave Chappelle recently defended Hart in his recent controversial Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, saying that the Philly native was “clearly joking” when he made the comments in question.
Hart, meanwhile, is currently recovering from a car crash on Sunday that left him with a serious back injury. He has since undergone a surgery, and faces weeks of physical therapy in order to recover, TMZ reports.