Kevin Hart criticized for reaction to Lil Nas X coming out: 'He said he was gay, so what?'

Erin Donnelly

Kevin Hart’s woes continue to mount. While the comedian recovers from emergency back surgery following a car crash early Sunday morning, he’s facing new criticism over comments made in the season premiere of HBO’s The Shop, which aired Tuesday night.

A clip from the show sees Hart joining in on a discussion in which fellow guest Lil Nas X is asked about his decision to publicly come out as gay in June amid the meteoric success of his hit song “Old Town Road.” Hart, who stepped down as host of this year’s Oscars following uproar over his past homophobic jokes, couldn’t resist interjecting as the rapper shared his story.

“And with all that early success, you felt it was important to make an announcement recently?” series creator Paul Rivera asks the 20-year-old musician.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Kevin Hart visits "Sway In the Morning" on "Shade 45" with host Sway Calloway at SiriusXM Studios on May 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Kevin Hart's reaction to Lil Nas X's coming out story has been criticized. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

“He said he was gay, so what?” Hart interrupts, while others in the room can be heard adding, “What’s the point?”

But Rivera shuts down the commentary and again presses Lil Nas X on why he felt it was “necessary” to be open about his sexuality.

“It’s not that it’s like being forced,” he responds. “It’s just, like, knowing that growing up ... like, I’m grown up to hate that s***, I’m not supposed to ... “

Hart cuts him off, asking, “hate what?”

“Homosexuality, gay people,” Lil Nas X answers, sounding increasingly frustrated.

“Why?” Hart fires back.

“Come on now,” Lil Nas X tells him. “If you really from the hood, you know. It’s not something [accepted] ... “

He goes on to explain that, by coming out at his height as a “cool dude” with a hit song, it made more impact.

“If you’re doing this while you’re at the top, you know it’s, like, for real,” he says. It’s, like, showing it doesn’t really matter, I guess.”

2019 MTV Video Music Awards - Photo Room - Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, U.S., August 26, 2019 - Lil Nas X poses backstage. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Lil Nas X came out as gay in June. (Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Now that the show has aired, Lil Nas X’s statements have been praised, with fans thanking him for using his platform to help pave the way for other LGBTQ individuals. By contrast, Hart’s dismissive reactions have sparked backlash from critics who accuse the star of not taking the matter seriously and sweeping genuine concerns about homophobia under the rug.

“I’m not gonna mince words ... f*** Kevin Hart,” read a comment. “He’s the last person to question anyone’s coming out process and timing. And say this to the young man’s face like that? That’s a no from me.”

Despite charges that Hart was being clueless and insensitive, many fans came to his defense and argued that he was being misunderstood.

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