When is it time to forgive?

Kevin Hart’s refusal to apologize for anti-LGBTQ tweets and jokes years ago cost him a job hosting the Oscars. The furor continues, with commentaries and opinion pieces demanding Hart apologize. The cycle of build-up-tear-down-rehabilitate celebrities is not complete without the requisite tearful atonement. Then, chastised celebrity disappears for a period of time and re-emerges to rebuild his/her damaged brand.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the co-host of MSNBC’s show “Morning Joe,” Mika Brzezinski, asked rhetorically whether Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo is a “wannabe dictator’s butt boy.” Within minutes, Brzezinski was barraged on Twitter for homophobic language. She apologized on Twitter for a “SUPER BAD choice of words.”

Couple of things to note here: When left-wing celebrities behave badly, the mainstream media, backed by the social-media mobs, pounces. Hart broke the rules by not apologizing and then not apologizing for not apologizing. That keeps the frenzy going; but what if Hart, in his refusal to apologize, is simply opting out of the cycle that forces progressive celebrities to do some variation of a social-media perp walk in which they accept their flogging with an apology?

Beyond that — is he no longer a homophobe if he apologizes? Is he a homophobe if he doesn’t?

While Hart’s words, some dating back more than 10 years, are picked apart, we are forgetting the other world we live in — one in which a churlish reality-television personality leads the most powerful country in the world, and does it badly.

As Americans, we are subjected to — on a daily basis — verbal assaults on refugees, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women, minorities, poor people, the uninsured and more. Chances are if you are reading this, you are in one these categories. But the assault is more than verbal — policies are put in place every single day to punish those categories of people for the temerity to exist. The subsequent uproar doesn’t even come close to that over Kevin Hart’s homophobic tweets from 2011.

It’s time to ask, when so much energy is spent tearing celebrities down, what really matters?