The director of Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart’s new comedy Get Hard has defended the movie against accusations it contains racist jokes during a heated panel discussion at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas.
The film stars Ferrell as a wealthy businessman who hires a black employee to help him prepare for prison life ahead of a stretch behind bars, and director Etan Cohen, who also co-wrote the film, was challenged about its themes during a question-and-answer session at the movie and music event in Austin on Monday.
After an audience member called out the director and branded the movie “racist as f**k”, Cohen replied, “The truth was that was a really delicate balance… It was (a) really hard thing to modulate because we really wanted to make a statement about this stuff. We wanted to think about this stuff and think about the stereotypes but not go too far where comedy doesn’t deserve to go…
“We sincerely hope that it will start conversations with people. People were definitely more uptight at the beginning of the movie. We were making very provocative jokes, and they were not sure where we were coming from. But when they saw that the comedy was at Will’s expense, it was one of the best audiences we’ve ever had.”