Kevin Hart ‘sends prayers’ to Jussie Smollett after attack

Kevin Hart, the comedian initially announced as the 2019 Oscars host, speaks

Kevin Hart is getting a backlash after sending a message of support to gay actor Jussie Smollett after a homophobic attack.

The comedian, who recently came under fire for his history of anti-gay jokes and tweets, posted a message of support to social media on Tuesday (January 29) after Empire star Jussie Smollett was the reported victim of a racist and homophobic attack.

Kevin Hart 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.”

Kevin Hart message did not go down well on Twitter

The post did not go down well on social media, where people pointed to Kevin Hart’s own recent response when called out for homophobia.

Kevin Hart dropped out as the host of the Oscars ceremony on December 6, after he was reportedly asked by the Academy to issue an apology for a number of resurfaced homophobic tweets.

The comedian, who had sent tweets mocking “fags” and included anti-gay jokes in his comedy as recently as 2010, chose to pull out as host rather than apologise.

One response to Kevin Hart’s post says: “Hopefully you now see that the ‘jokes’ you peddled, that incited violence against #LGBT people were never – ever – funny.”

Kevin Hart appeared on ABC's Good Morning America on January 9 and said he wouldn't be hosting the Oscars

Kevin Hart said he wouldn’t be hosting the Oscars after the outrage his homophobic jokes sparked

Another added: “What’s going on in the world is that a group of men thought it was ok to beat and abuse a man because of his sexuality and race. Wonder where they could have got an idea like that?”

Hart has since posted a cryptic response to the call-outs, explaining he would “spread love.”

He tweeted: “Operation spread love is in full effect damn it. I don’t condone or believe in hate, infact I despise it.

“Hate makes me sick to my stomach…Its pointless. Cowards & weak individuals embrace it. I choose love…I love all of you. I challenge the rest of the world 2 do the same.”

Empire co-stars send support after Jussie Smollett attack

Smollett is yet to speak publicly about the incident, but many of his Empire colleagues have sent messages of support.

In an emotional video posted to Instagram, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels said: “It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because, Jussie, you are my son.

“You didn’t deserve nor anybody deserves to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called ‘faggot n****r’ or whatever they said to you.

“You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. It starts at home.”

Daniels added: “We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are because it shows we are united on a united front and no racist f**k can come in and do the things that they did to you.

“Hold your head up, Jussie. I’m with you. I’ll be there in a minute. It’s just another f***ing day in America.”

A statement on behalf of the entire Empire production adds: “We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our Empire family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night.

“We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice.

“The entire studio, network and production shared united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate, and especially against one of our own.”