CNN’s Don Lemon says if Kevin Hart doesn't want to be an LGBT ally 'we'll have to march on without him'

On Monday night, CNN anchor Don Lemon called out Kevin Hart for remarks he said on his radio show about the blowback the comedian received for homophobic tweets he made several years ago.

Last month, Hart pulled out as host of this year’s Academy Awards after numerous anti-gay tweets from as early as 2009 caused an uproar following the announcement that he was emceeing the event.

After pleading on his show for Hart to reach out to him and to “be an ally” for the LGBT community, Lemon told his viewers that he had an off-the-record conversation with the entertainer.

“I’m not coming for Kevin, OK? This is just...we’re trying to learn and have a dialogue and a conversation here because when talking about this story on this program, I asked Kevin to reach out to me. And guess what, over the weekend he did. He called me. We spoke at length, we spoke for over an hour. And then we talked after that and we texted and whatever,” Lemon said. “But it was mostly an off-the-record conversation because I wanted him to be honest with me and I just, I just wanted us to talk to each other and to listen.”

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Lemon clarified that his “agreement” with Hart was that he could speak in “generalities” and speak about the “overall tone” of their conversation and explain “where he is coming from.”

Lemon pointed to a clip from Hart’s SiriusXM radio show where the star offered another apology to the LGBT community, something Lemon acknowledged to his viewers as genuine.

But then Lemon played another clip from Hart’s radio show where he invoked the CNN anchor and his challenge for the comedian to become an “ally” for the gay community.

“I don’t like the forcing… Don Lemon goes on CNN and he’s like ‘You can fix this, become an ally.’ That’s not my...it’s not my life dream,” Hart said. “I’m now moving on from this because I’m just hoping that the apology is accepted. If it’s chosen not to be accepted, I can’t control that.”

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Lemon responded by saying you can “be upset” by what he said, but it’s Hart’s “right” whether he likes it or not.

“If he doesn’t want to be an ally, if he doesn’t want to be a spokesman for the gay community, he does not have to do that. It’s his choice as an American,” Lemon continued. “On some level, you could understand for him that it may feel like he’s under attack, right? Because he’s in the middle of it. But I will tell you from me, as I relate to him and I can tell my part, he’s not a victim.”

“So listen to what he’s saying there. He wants to be accepted, he wants us to accept him, he wants to be embraced on his own merits… isn’t that what the LGBT community wants? Isn’t that the same thing that they were asking for? To be embraced on their own merits and not be stereotyped and stigmatized?” Lemon elaborated. “So maybe he now knows just a little bit, just a little bit more of what that feels like even if it’s misguided or however you feel about it, now he knows just a little bit how it feels like. The LGBT community, which I am a part of, can and should hold people with large megaphones to account… but if we don’t want to be bullied, we can’t be bullies. We don’t want to turn into what you’re fighting against. So hold them to account, call them out, but you don’t want to bully people.”

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Lemon teased Hart for not coming on his show as he continues his media blitz promoting his new film The Upside.

“Maybe you’re scared, Kevin. Are you scared of me? Don’t be scared,” Lemon joked. “C’mon, I’m not going to be mean!”

The CNN anchor concluded the segment by saying that since he won’t be an “ally” for the LGBT community that “we’ll have to march on without him.”