Kevin Hart sent his best wishes to Jussie Smollett on Twitter after the Empire star was hospitalized following a possible homophobic and racist attack. But social media was not into it, and questioned Hart’s motives. Hart, of course, has stepped down as host of next month’s Oscars ceremony following the resurfacing of multiple homophobic tweets.
"Sending prayers your way @jussiesmollett ….This is unbelievably sad," Hart, 39, captioned a photo of Smollett, 36, on Instagram Tuesday, January 29. "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."
Many critics weighed in telling Hart that "this is why" he shouldn’t have joked about "beating his son" if he found out he was gay. In 2011, Hart tweeted that he would beat his son if he found he were gay; he deleted the tweet years later and apologized.
"This is why someone’s jokes about beating their gay son were never funny," TV writer Ira Madison III tweeted. Filmmaker Sam Greisman, who is the son of actress Sally Field, agreed, writing, "But keep joking about beating up your kid for being gay, Kevin Hart!"
Dozens of other celebrities, including Janet Jackson and John Legend, also voiced their support for Smollett. The actor-singer still reportedly plans to perform at the Troubadour club in West Hollywood on Saturday, February 2.
Smollett is also reportedly planning to return to the set of Fox’s Empire after the attack, which sent him to a Chicago hospital on Monday, although production has been suspended due to dangerously low temperatures (with wind chill) of negative 40. He is reportedly on the mend.
In other news, according to Page Six, police have obtained footage of potential "persons of interest wanted for questioning" in the alleged racist and homophobic attack on Smollett. TMZ reports that investigators believe they have a lead after watching the surveillance video and are asking for the public to help them locate the multiple persons of interest. Chicago Police told Page Six on Wednesday (January 30th), "Police detectives have located surveillance cameras that show potential people of interest in the alleged assault and battery that was reported in the 300 block of E. North Water Street. While the video footage does not depict an assault, the individuals pictured are seen in the vicinity of the alleged criminal incident during the alleged time of occurrence."