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Kevin Hart Plays Victim Card After Jussie Smollett Tweet Backfires

HART SMOLLETT

Critics noted Hart's history of jokes about antigay violence after the actor sent a message of support to the out Empire star.

Comedian Kevin Hart issued a statement of support Wednesday for Jussie Smollett after the Empire actor was the target of a possible hate crime.

But when that message sparked a predictable backlash -- based on homophobic jokes Hart made in the past -- the straight actor started pushing back on critics himself.

Hart posted an Instagram post a day after Smollett was allegedly stopped in Chicago and beaten by two men yelling racial and homophobic slurs. Chicago police released surveillance pictures of suspects on Wednesday.

Hart initially wrote: "Sending prayers your way @jussiesmollett ....This is unbelievably sad. Why are we going backwards....this is disgusting. We as people have to do better. WTF is going on the world???? Why are we falling in love with hate???? God damn it people....Choose love...I repeat...Choose love. I will forever choose love and I will continue to teach my kids how to do the same. Stand strong brother."

He posted a similar comment on Twitter.

But the sentiments quickly prompted others to raise Hart's past with antigay tweets, an issue that recently led the comedian to pull out of hosting the Academy Awards.

Gay writer Ira Madison responded on Twitter: "This is why someone's jokes about beating their gay son were never funny." He called Hart's message of support to Smollett "the funniest joke."

Madison's marks referenced the jokes Hart previously made on social media about assaulting his young son for playing with dolls, comments that drew particular critique from queer people of color.

But Hart quickly turned to the narrative he's tried to set since the Oscars scandal, that he's long apologized and reformed his views.

He wrote on Twitter: "I stand with a man in his time of hurt and need by giving him heart felt support and u take the time to harp on my 10yr past that I have apologized about and moved on from by being a better person. Do you want change? If so I am an example of what u want people to do...CHANGE!"

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