The shady side of Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart is a Hollywood heavy hitter. He's hilarious, a hugely successful businessman and entertainer, a social media pioneer, and a philanthropist who gives back to the community. However, there are controversies surrounding this Philadelphia-raised funny man that cannot be ignored. This is the shady side of Kevin Hart.

Kevin Hart was a target for blackmail

Considering how much Kevin Hart gushes about his wife, Eniko Parrish, it was shocking when he essentially admitted to cheating on her while she was pregnant with his child (after he knew he'd been caught).

"I'm at a place in my life where I feel like I have a target on my back, and because of that, I should make smart decisions, and recently, I didn't," a visibly distraught Hart said in a September 2017 Instagram video. "I'm not perfect... I made a bad error in judgment. I put myself in an environment where only bad things can happen, and they did. In doing that, I know that I'm going to hurt the people closest to me, who I've talked to and apologized to — my wife and my kids ... It's a s***ty moment when you know you're wrong, and there's no excuses for your wrong behavior ... But I'm not going to also allow a person to have financial gain over my mistakes, and in this particular situation, that's what was attempted. I said, 'I'd rather fess up to my mistakes.'"

Hart didn't say exactly what mistakes he'd made, but TMZ reported that someone was shopping around a video allegedly of Hart and another woman engaged in "sexually suggestive" behavior in a club and in a bed. A rep for Hart told the site, "Someone tried to set Kevin up in a failed extortion attempt. As law enforcement is involved, we cannot comment further as it could affect the investigation."

Was Hart's charitable work a cover?

TMZ obtained the video of Kevin Hart that reportedly fueled the extortion attempt. While the site did not publish the full video, it described the footage as "graphic," noting that while one doesn't actually see the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star's face in a particularly raunchy scene, you do see a nude man who looks an awful lot like the comedian walking around afterward. The video includes text cards alleging that Hart started his "Hurricane Harvey Challenge" in an effort to preempt the release of the footage and get into the public's good graces. The clip claims the alleged cheating took place between Aug. 17 and Aug. 20, 2017.

"The real reason Kevin Hart orchestrated the Texas Hurricane Relief Fund, this so-called good deed was done to get ahead as he knew this damaging footage was one click away from being exposed as the liar and cheater he is," the video's text reads (via TMZ). "Kevin Hart was privy to me wanting to expose him as I have made countless attempts to expose this information to various blogs, in an attempt to also get paid." The video alleges, "The weekend of his pregnant wife's birthday, Kevin Hart was recklessly partying with my friends and I. Drinking, doing drugs, and having sex with multiple women at the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Hotel." 

Hart's 'other woman' denied filming their alleged sex tape

The woman in the previously mentioned video used in an attempt to extort Kevin Hart spoke out on Sept. 20, 2017, telling press, "My name is Montia Sabbag. I was involved with Kevin Hart a month ago. Since then, my pictures and my name have been released and lies written about me. I am not an extortionist. I am not a stripper. I am a recording artist and an actress, and I have not broken any laws. I had nothing to do with these recordings ... I am truly sorry for any involvement I have had in this."

Sabbag's attorney, Lisa Bloom, did not address reports that Sabbag allegedly demanded $420,000 to take a lie detector test, though Bloom did note that lie detector tests aren't admissible in court and often produce false results. 

Bloom said (via E! News), "Someone apparently snuck cameras into Kevin Hart's private hotel suite in Las Vegas and recorded bedroom images of the two of them. It is a crime to secretly put cameras in a private place like a hotel room. It is another crime to secretly record people in a private place. It is yet another crime to distribute those images. Montia is the victim of multiple felonies under state and federal laws." She continued, "Although it's been reported that law enforcement is investigating, we have no evidence of that ... We will be going to the authorities immediately to report this matter ... We will fully cooperate with law enforcement."

The attorney added, "Montia and I are not asking for a cent from Kevin Hart ... We are not suing him. We are not making any claims against him ... Kevin Hart appears to be the victim of this criminal, just as Montia is ... We invite Mr. Hart to join us in bringing the perpetrator to justice ... To the criminal who did this, I say: You belong in prison, and we are going to find you."

Cops charged a suspect in the extortion case

Law enforcement sources told TMZ that the person attempting to extort Kevin Hart made several demands for money, at one point asking for eight figures. Sources told the gossip rag that the FBI has identified the woman interacting with Hart in the video and believed either she is the person who demanded the cash or someone who had access to her iPhone was behind the alleged extortion attempt. 

Sources close to Hart reportedly would not confirm if he was the man in the video but did confirm that the woman in the video was familiar to them and had previously had a sexual relationship with another celebrity who is currently a TV star. The insiders also noted that the video was recorded on an iPhone propped up against an object in the room and that recording without consent is against the law.

According to TMZ, the plot thickened when someone "who could be the extortionist" contacted Hart's team and offered to take a lie detector test related to the tape's contents, but only if they were paid a cool $500,000 for the test. Hart's attorneys reportedly declined the offer. According to CNN, a former friend of Hart's by the name of Jonathan Todd Jackson was "charged with one count each of felony attempted extortion and extortion by threatening letter" in May 2018.

Kevin Hart may have foreshadowed his own scandal

Kevin Hart admitted in 2016 that a big reason he didn't cheat was because he didn't want to get caught.

"At today's time, man, it's too risky," he told The Breakfast Club. "And not to say that all women are opportunists because that's not fair and that's not true. But there are some women who have given other women a bad name just with the social media and the posting of the 'in the bed with.'" 

Hart added, "So even if I were to [cheat on Parrish], there's no safe return from it. I wouldn't be a good cheater right now because I don't feel like I can trust you to cheat ... I feel like I'd be asking questions ... 'What are you doing? Are you about to post that?' It's too much, there's no sanity that comes with it. Why risk it? What am I gonna throw it all away for? It's not worth it."

Did Hart cheat on his first wife with his current wife?

In August 2017, Eniko Parrish posted a photo captioned, "8 years together..1 year married..Forever to go!" Fans and followers were quick to point out that the Central Intelligence (2016) star and his ex-wife, Torrei Hart, had only been divorced for six years at that point.

Parrish responded in a since-deleted comment (via People): "Their marriage was broken way before I came in the picture.. They were separated living in separate homes. I was never a secret." In another deleted comment she claimed Torrei started a rumor that Parrish was Hart's mistress "years ago [because] she wanted to play the 'victim' and not own up to her wrong doing as well ... I never wrecked any home."

Torrei replied in a since-deleted comment of her own (via People): "Eniko sweetheart normally I don't feed into this, but when you addressed me directly, you forced my hand to respond. We have made successful strides to become a loving co-parenting family, but you have now left it open for my character to be questioned. You, Kevin, and I know the truth." 

Torrei later told TMZ, "I wish I had the time that she had to sit around and read comments all day long. I really do ... Numbers don't lie. Dates don't lie." She previously told the media outlet in 2014, "Our divorce was finalized two years ago and we were only separated eight months prior to the divorce. Despite what Kevin has said, and the time frames he is trying to establish, she was his mistress and was one of the reasons that broke up my family."

The timing of Hart's marriage proposal raised eyebrows

Kevin Hart proposed to Eniko Parrish on Aug. 19, 2014, capturing the sweet moment on video. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Hart's ex-wife, Torrei Hart, had a television show premiering the same day. In the show, called Atlanta Exes, Torrei talks about Kevin allegedly cheating on her. 

While TMZ suspected the comedian's timing may have been fueled by spite, it's important to note that Hart's proposal also coincided with Parrish's 30th birthday. Hours after the proposal, Kevin and Parrish reportedly ran into Torrei at an Atlanta strip club, where spies told TMZ the women did not make eye contact.

Kevin Hart was previously accused of cheating on Eniko Parrish

In July 2017, Radar Online obtained photos and a video of Kevin Hart interacting suspiciously with a woman in a car outside a Miami hotel, though it's unclear if anything untoward happened. The woman in question was singer Monique "Momo" Gonzalez, reported the Daily Mail

"It's obvious they were up to no good," a spy alleged to Radar Online. "She kept looking over her shoulder, and Kevin was pop-eyed when another guest walked by." Sources close to Parrish were reportedly furious about the reports. "With his wife at home pregnant, Kevin's behavior is way out of line," an insider told Radar Online. "His friends are in shock. Eniko needs to be stress-free and feeling safe and secure. It's disgusting that Kevin is doing this to her."

He confessed to cheating a lot during his first marriage

In Kevin Hart's 2015 memoir, I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons, he recalled having affairs behind Torrei Hart's back before they even wed. 

"I was too young, dumb, and horny to take care of her emotional needs, communicate honestly, and repair damage from the mistakes," he wrote (via Radar Online). "Those mistakes came mostly from times we argued so intensely that we broke up and messed around with other people—sometimes for sex, other times for retaliation. When we inevitably got back together, the knowledge — or sometimes just the suspicion — that one of us had been with someone else made the next fight that much worse." 

He described one incident in which Torrei had temporarily moved back in with her parents, only to return to their shared home and find him with another woman. "Suddenly, I heard the sound of glass breaking outside. I ran into the street to find Torrei kicking the other woman's car in. By the time she finished, the fender was hanging off the front, the headlights were broken, and the hood was dented," Hart wrote.

The stand-up comic admitted that the cheating intensified after they married and even included "three random women" he met online. "I'd go to the show and feel justified in hooking up with one of those three women because I deserved it after being so mistreated, [but] I was the one lying, cheating, and leading a double life," Hart wrote. He reportedly continued seeing other women until one of them allegedly began stalking him and revealed his affairs to Torrei, prompting their divorce.

Kevin Hart was accused of assaulting his first wife

Court documents obtained by Radar Online revealed that Kevin Hart was arrested for simple assault in 2000 after an altercation with Torrei Hart. The charges were dismissed, but the actor did address the domestic dispute in his book, I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons.

"I was so drunk, I couldn't remember what had happened. I didn't have any marks on me, and neither did Torrei," Hart wrote (via Radar Online). "As best I can tell, we got in a screaming match, and she decided to call the police because she thought it would hurt more than physical violence ... What soon followed was one of the lowest points I ever hit, and it fills me with an amount of shame that's beyond words. At one point, Torrei spit on me. I let loose a volley of curses at her, and she lunged at me. Next thing I knew, I looked up and I had scratches all over my neck and head, and she had a red, swelling mark on her face."

Other celebs side-eyed Hart's hurricane relief efforts

After Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas, and its surrounding areas in August 2017, Kevin Hart created a Hurricane Relief Challenge, in which he called out other celebrities by name, including pals Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and Dave Chappelle to donate $25,000 each to recovery efforts.

"I think we participated in a lot of challenges on the internet, some meaningful, some meaningless, but we've all done them," Hart said in an Instagram video (via Entertainment Weekly). "At this point I'm going to start a real challenge. I'm challenging a lot of my celebrity friends to follow my lead and donate $25,000 to Hurricane Harvey, to the Red Cross ... I'm going to lead the charge and step up in this way."

"I'm blessed that Kevin Hart made a donation, but I feel like he [doesn't] have to do that [challenge]," Master P told TMZ. "It's not necessary. A lot of people are going to what they want to do. It's [their] money. We made a [substantial] donation but it really don't matter what it is, as long as you give from your heart ... I don't think you have to do that with other people."

Even pal Johnson wasn't too impressed, though he did participate. "Kevin Hart, you issued the Hurricane Harvey challenge," he said. "I appreciate you, brother. I just donated my $25,000 to the Red Cross; my companies are donating money ... I'm not going to call out my celebrity friends. You already know what to do in terms of donating money."

Kevin Hart was sued over his security team

A fan named Jason Collins sued Kevin Hart in August 2017 after he was allegedly insulted and beaten by the comic's security team. According to TMZ, Collins claimed he was a VIP guest at Hart's show in Philadelphia on Aug. 29, 2015, when stadium security approached in what he called an aggressive manner. The stadium security allegedly turned Collins over to the comedian's personal security team. Collins alleged that Hart's team threatened to tase him, threw him to the ground, and called him names. He sued for $50,000, claiming Hart should take responsibility since it was the actor's hired muscle who did the alleged damage.

It's worth noting that Collins has not publicized what he did to attract the stadium security team's attention in the first place (or why it took him two years to sue), so take this incident with a great big grain of salt.

Hart's refused to play gay roles

Kevin Hart has dozens of on-screen roles to his name, but the movie star famously said no to a major part in the past based on one particular reason. "One role I regret [turning down] was [in] Tropic Thunder," Kevin Hart told The Breakfast Club in January 2015. "Brandon T. Jackson, he got the part [of Alpa Chino]. But in my defense — first of all, before I say this, I'm politically correct to the gay community, I respect and appreciate any and everything that you all do, and as people, I love you." 

However, Hart went on to say that the character in the version of the script he read was different than the one portrayed in the film: "He was doing a lot of stuff in the draft that I read ... It was real flagrant. It was a lot of stuff, and I was like, 'I can't do this.'" When asked if he could play a gay role, in general, Hart was candid. "No. Not because I have any ill will or disrespect," he said. "It's because I feel like I can't do it because I don't think I'm really going to dive into that role 100 percent because of the insecurities about myself trying to play that part."

He had drinking problems

In his memoir, I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons, Kevin Hart wrote (via E! News), "When I'm drunk, I think everything is a toilet." He admitted to even urinating in Eniko Parrish's purse. "When I'm wasted, anything with a door looks like a bathroom to me," Hart continued. "And anything with a lid or an opening looks like a toilet. So I'll piss wherever I think a bathroom should be."

According to TMZ, Hart was busted for a DUI in April 2013, after going nearly 90 miles per hour and nearly crashing into a truck. His blood-alcohol level was reportedly nearly twice the legal limit. The comedian was sentenced to three years of probation and three months of alcohol education classes.

Hart's been accused of milking his cheating scandals

Montia Sabbag once complained that Kevin Hart was using their sex tape extortion scenario in his stand-up act for laughs and publicity while she was stuck being shamed.

Hart joked about the Miami and Las Vegas incidents and blasted himself for behaving "like a miscreant" in a promotional video for his then-upcoming Irresponsible tour. Sabbag's attorney later told TMZ that Hart's jokes were "very distasteful," adding, "This stuff takes a toll mentally and physically, and now with this tour it's like this whole thing was a joke."

Kevin Hart and his wife hosted a racially insensitive party for their son

In November 2018, Kevin Hart's wife, Eniko Parrish, took to Instagram to document a cowboys and Indians-themed birthday party they threw for their son, Kenzo. However, TMZ reports that the couple faced a ton of criticism for the festivities' theme, which many felt was insensitive and racist toward Native Americans. ...But Hart wasn't having it and quickly went on the defense.

The comedian slammed the backlash as "dumb s**t" on his Straight From The Hart radio show, noting that the same day, the Dallas Cowboys had played against the Washington Redskins (via TMZ). "The reason why I'm even bringing this dumb s**t it up is it shows how stupid the world is becoming with opinions," Hart said, adding, "To throw racial judgment into the development of a one-year-old's birthday party where the theme is cowboys and Indians, and it's based around the outfits that are given to these young kids." 

Hart went on to liken playing cowboys and Indians as a kid to playing cops and robbers, and said he believed the theme was much different from blackface. "This isn't a racial slur," the stand-up comic claimed. "This is a game people have been playing for years."

Hart has a history of making homophobic jokes

Before becoming a household name, Kevin Hart was simply a working comedian with a few stand-up specials. As such, not all of his pre-fame material holds up. Hart has old tweets and stand-up material from 2009 through 2011 in which he uses language, scenarios, and premises that many interpreted as homophobic. When asked about his past homophobic jokes in an interview promoting 2015's Get Hard, Hart simply replied, "At the end of the day, funny is funny."

In an interview with Rolling Stone that same year, the comic revealed he wouldn't continue telling one particularly controversial joke from a past special about how he'd react if his son were gay — but not necessarily due to sensitivity or compassion for the LGBTQ+ community. "I wouldn't tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren't as sensitive as they are now," Hart explained. "I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren't necessarily big deals, because we can. These things become public spectacles. So why set yourself up for failure?"

Kevin Hart refused to apologize for his past material

Kevin Hart was named host of the 2019 Oscars in December 2018 — but almost immediately afterward, the previously mentioned old tweets and stand-up material with homophobic themes resurfaced. Many opponents to the comedian's hosting gig pointed out that he never actually apologized for the prior offensive material. Hart's response? A shirtless Instagram video taken from bed, in which he griped, "If you don't believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don't know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past, then do you. I'm the wrong guy, man. I'm in a great place — a great mature place where all I do is spread positivity. If you're not doing that, you're not on my page."

He then doubled down. In a follow-up Instagram clip, a seemingly exasperated Hart revealed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked him to apologize or else they'd have to find a new host. "I passed on the apology," he said. "This is not the first time this has come up, I've addressed it, I've spoken on it ... I'm not gonna continue to go back and tap into the days of old, when I've moved on, and I'm in a completely different space in my life."

He later backed out of hosting the Oscars

Within days of speaking out on the backlash against him, Kevin Hart tweeted that he was stepping down from hosting the Academy Awards. However, this time, he actually did apologize to the LGBTQ+ community for his past remarks. "I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscars," he wrote. "This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past." In a follow-up tweet, the comedian apologized again, adding, "I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again."

About a month later, Hart appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where the titular host asked him to reconsider his stance on emceeing the Oscars; DeGeneres also entreated her audience to forgive Hart for his past comments. He said he'd consider it. A few days later — during which DeGeneres faced backlash of her own for defending Hart – he apologized "once again" to the LGBTQ+ community on his Straight From The Hart radio show (via Billboard). However, Hart added, "If you don't want to accept people for their change, then where are you trying to get to the equal part?"

Kevin Hart got salty over the Oscars controversy

During a January 2019 appearance on Good Morning America, Kevin Hart made it clear that he was tired of discussing the Oscars controversy. "I'm done with it. It gets no more energy from me," he said. "That's why I said, 'For the last time, I'm addressing this.' There's no more conversation about it. I'm literally ... I'm over that. I'm over the moment, and I'm about today." 

When co-anchor Michael Strahan asked how he'd evolved since his initial homophobic jokes, Hart snapped, "I have explained how I've evolved, which makes me say 'I'm over it.' I'm not saying I've changed anymore. I'm not saying what I've done and what the new me is. I'm not giving [any] more explanation of who I am. I'm done."

Hart then pointed out all of his previous tweets, Instagram posts, statements, and TV and radio quotes about the Oscars situation and refused to discuss it any further. Saying the backlash and apology cycle was "endless," the comic added, "I'm talking about today. I'm talking about me today and the energy that I have and what I can do on a daily basis." When Strahan asked Hart about the possibility of having a gay son, he replied, "If anybody out there wants to believe that Kevin Hart is that much of a monster, that he wouldn't love somebody because of their choice in life, more power to them."