On Saturday evening, a golden statue of Kevin Hart waving a rainbow flag appeared on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, very close to the Dolby Theater, where the Oscars will be held on Sunday. The statue is reportedly the creation of L.A. street artist Plastic Jesus, according to Entertainment Tonight.
The golden, life-sized, Hart-like figure resembles an Oscar award, with the engraved base of the award reading “Hollow Apology” in place of the recipient’s name. The rainbow flag appears to point at the comedian’s history of homophobic jokes in his stand-up routines.
Plastic Jesus shared several photos and videos of his work to Instagram on Sunday morning, explaining in the caption that he was “call[ing] out homophobia.” The statue seems to serve as a reminder of why the 39-year-old Night School actor stepped down from his chance to host the Oscars.
Hart revealed in December that he would be taking the stage as the emcee at the awards show. His announcement was almost immediately met with social media users calling him out for some questionable tweets circa 2009-2011, in which he wrote anti-gay insults. In addition, many users recalled Hart’s homophobic stand-up jokes.
The actor at first refused to apologize, instead defending his past tweets. Just days later, Hart announced that he would be stepping down from the hosting job. He issued an apology, stating that he “[doesn’t] have a homophobic bone in [his] body,” NBC News reported.
“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” Hart said. “My goal is to bring people together, not tear us apart.”
Many social media users are now calling out Plastic Jesus’ statue as racist, stating that he intentionally depicted over-exaggerated African American features. Others are pointing out that the statue does not look anything like the real Hart, comparing the statue to the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, the tin man “from The Wiz, and “Aunt Jemima’s son.”
“That Kevin Hart statue would be funny if it… actually looked like Kevin Hart,” one person said.
Hart has not commented on the statue.
Plastic Jesus has made headlines in the past with his artwork, which often make statements about social issues. In September, the artist reportedly placed fake prison bars over Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to HuffPost. He also built a miniature border wall around Trump’s star in 2016.
Plastic Jesus also recently created a statue of Harvey Weinstein in a bathrobe as he sat on a “casting couch” on Hollywood Boulevard.