Nick Cannon further defended Kevin Hart on Tuesday after the comedian quit hosting the Oscars after refusing to apologize for anti-gay remarks, with Cannon saying the current social climate is reminiscent of “McCarthyism.”
“Everyone’s just scared to move, scared to speak, and I’m not,” Cannon said in an interview on AM to DM with host Saeed Jones.
Following the Hart backlash last week, Cannon began tweeting instances where other comedians, like Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and Chelsea Handler, had used anti-gay slurs.
“Interesting,” Cannon wrote last Friday while retweeting one of Handler’s old tweets from June 2010 that included the word “fag.”
“I wonder if there was any backlash here,” Cannon wrote.
Cannon told Jones he wrote the tweets to fight “selective outrage and hypocrisy.”
Hart quit as Oscars host late Thursday night just hours after refusing to apologize for old anti-gay tweets in which he had repeatedly used the word “fag” as a slur and made jokes about beating his son if he found him playing with dolls. It was only when he quit that Hart said he was sorry to the LGBT community for his “insensitive words.”
But Cannon said he was proud of Hart for the way he handled himself, and he said people shouldn’t be judged on their social media presence.
“It’s a dangerous time where we allow social media to dictate how we feel about people’s character,” Cannon said. “I know Kevin Hart personally. I know Kevin Hart is an amazing individual.”
Jones highlighted a tweet Cannon sent out in 2012 in which the entertainer criticized people who rely on the use of anti-gay jokes for laughs. Cannon had written that folks who use those kinds of gags should be kicked off Twitter, a seemingly different approach than the one he took with Hart.
“Look at the statement, though. I said, ‘If that’s your best joke,’” Cannon said. “If you’re ultimately out here to hurt people and to be mean and to be disgusting and hateful — absolutely, away with you.”
Cannon said people should be able to discern when someone is “being hateful and someone who is doing something out of satire.”
And even if someone has told a joke out of ignorance, the star said he believes that people should be given room to grow.
“Society has this fascination with punishment...no, let’s grow, let’s come to a common place of understanding as humanity,” he said.
Cannon is the host and executive producer of the upcoming competition series The Masked Singer. Watch his complete interview below: