The 39-year-old star of films such as “Night School,” “Ride Along,” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” celebrated his youngest child’s first birthday during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Hart’s wife Eniko, 34, posted photos of the party on social media, and some guests could be seen wearing cowboy hats and bandanas, while others wrapped themselves in blankets that appeared to have Native American-inspired designs.
“Zos cowboys & indians party was nothing but amazing!” wrote Eniko on Instagram. “Thanks to everyone for coming … we love you guys!”
On a video from the event, Hart held his adorable young son Kenzo Kash and fed him a few small bites from a tall cake with teepee designs on it.
In the comment section, some people called the party theme “disrespectful” and “shameful,” especially since it was held during the Thanksgiving holiday, which has often been linked with the mistreatment of Native Americans in recent years by many activists.
“As a Native American woman and mother, I’m disappointed in you and your husband for your choice to perpetuate harmful stereotypes of Native people,” commented Instagram user vynabrown.
“This day and age people are not being sensitive. People are tired of being used as costumes,” wrote sarapeact.
“This is just as bad as blackface,” wrote priscillajade2.
However, many other people left comments of support for the family.
“I’m native & am not offended by the picture,” wrote april_tci, who pointed out that no “lame” headdresses or other overtly stereotypical costumes appeared to be used.
“Awesome theme! Ignore the haters. Crazy world we live in,” commented candysandy123.
“Looks like a great party and I sincerely hope that you DO NOT apologize for throwing a themed party for your own kid,” wrote amariterese.
Hart later talked about the controversy on his Laugh Out Loud Radio SiriusXM show “Straight from the Hart” on channel 96, and a clip of the audio was posted on YouTube on Nov. 27.
“It shows just how stupid our world is becoming with opinion,” he said. “People are at a point of an all-time high, to throw racial judgment into the development of a 1-year-old birthday party.”
Hart said the theme was based on traditional childhood dress-up games, where children often copied the fictional battle scenes they saw in movies. The 39-year-old said he remembers playing such games, for example, “cops and robbers,” when he was 6 or 7 years old.
“This isn’t a racial slur that people are doing and being malicious with. This is a game that’s been played for years,” he said.
He also pointed out that on the same day as the party, the Dallas Cowboys NFL team played the Washington Redskins on television, suggesting that they exemplified another type of simulated battle for entertainment.
Kenzo Kash is Hart’s third child after 13-year-old daughter Heaven and 11-year-old son Hendrix. He was born in November 2017.