Infamous street artists Plastic Jesus and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe aren’t letting Kevin Hart off easy. The comedian who was originally supposed to host tonight’s Oscars is the subject of the duo’s latest art installation, a life-size Oscar statue holding a rainbow flag.
Entitled “Hollow Apology,” the unauthorized display on Hollywood Blvd., blocks from where the Academy Awards ceremony will take place, references what the pair believe to be a “lack of apology” by Hart in reference to his anti-LGBTQ+ tweets that resurfaced shortly after he was announced as host late last year.
“The whole purpose of our Oscars statues is really to get Hollywood and the entertainment industry to look at itself a bit closer and assess what it's doing right and what its doing wrong,” Plastic Jesus said to Out.
In a 2009 tweet Hart called someone a "fat faced fag." In another from 2010 he said a user's profile picture looked "like a gay billboard for AIDS." And then there’s this 2012 tweet: "Yo if my son comes home & try's 2 play with my daughters doll house I'm going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice 'stop that's gay.'"
When asked by the film academy to apologize, Hart initially refused, saying he had already “addressed” these concerns, and stepped down as host. He then went on a media tour (in part to promote a film) and stopped by Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show to allege “a malicious attack to end him.” During that tour he did offer words that some believe equate to an apology.
But Plastic Jesus, months later, still doesn’t buy it.
“The apology he gave was basically about the tweet and not about any beliefs or opinions he clearly holds,” he said. “He hasn’t come out and said, ‘I don’t that belive homsexuality is wrong and if any of my children were born gay I would give them all the love and support they need.’ He’s never done that.”
The pair spent five weeks putting the statue together, with Ginger, who is based in Las Vegas, creating the head and hands, and Plastic Jesus, who’s based in Los Angeles, creating the body. Their guerilla art has become a staple of sorts during awards season. Last year, they created a statue of Harvey Weinstein sitting on a casting couch after the famed producer was accused of decades of sexual assault. Individually, they’ve been responsible for a tiny wall installation around Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and also the naked Trump statues that popped up across the country in advance of the 2016 election.
The response to the Hart piece has been mixed with many saying on Plastic Jesus’ Instagram that its subject not only apologized, but was wrongly being held accountable for some tweets almost a decade old.
“But in my opinion,” Plastic Jesus said, “it wasn’t okay to be homophobic eight or nine years ago anymore than it is now.”