Don’t count Kevin Hart out as the Oscars host just yet – at least not if Ellen DeGeneres has anything to say about it.
Hart stepped down in early December after homophobic comments and tweets resurface tweets in which he used words like “homo” and “gay.” Per E! News, the since-deleted tweets date back to 2011.
But when “The Upside” actor appeared on Friday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” he seemed open to the arguments made by DeGeneres, who hosted the award show in 2014.
DeGeneres revealed to Hart that she had phoned the Academy the same day they taped their interview because she wants Hart to have the gig. According to her, the organization also still wants Hart to host. USA TODAY has reached out to the Academy for comment.
She also advised him to ignore the Internet trolls.
“That’s a small group of people being very, very loud,” she advised. “We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars.”
Hart said it was hard because he viewed this as “an attack to end me.”
“But they’re going to win if you don’t host the Oscars,” DeGeneres offered, adding that she’s “praying” that Hart will eventually be restored as host.
“I think it’s perfect that all this happened because there has to be a conversation about homophobia,” said DeGeneres, who has long been one of one of the most visible LGBTQ celebrities in Hollywood. “And whoever’s trying to hurt you, it brought up you reminding people that you’re a bigger person, that you’ve already apologized, you’re apologizing again.”
“I am sensitive to all of that, and I talked to you about this, and you’ve already expressed that it’s not being educated on the subject, not realizing how dangerous those words are, not realizing how many kids are killed for being gay or beaten up every day,” she said. “You have grown, you have apologized, you’re apologizing again right now. You’ve done it. Don’t let those people win, host the Oscars.”
When the show returned from a commercial, DeGeneres playfully introduced her guest as “this year’s Oscars host,” which received massive applause from the audience.
“I think you have said a lot of amazing things,” Hart told DeGeneres. “You have put a lot of things on my mind, and I know where our relationship stands. So, leaving here, I’m promising you I’m evaluating this conversation.”
“Let me assess, just to sit in this space and really think and you and I will talk before anything else,” he promised her.
Afterward, Twitter users took to the social media site to express their frustration with the comedians’ conversation.
Comedian Ryan Houlihan took issue with DeGeneres’ use of the word “haters.”
“Ellen: Listen gay people, when I need you to help me get back on TV, you’re my community but when you don’t want to watch my homophobic friend, you’re ‘haters,’ ” he tweeted.
As did BuzzFeed reporter Adam B. Vary.
“First, the people who brought up Kevin Hart’s past tweets — like me — were not, as Ellen characterized, ‘haters,’ ” the journalist began in a series of tweets. “The host of the Oscars had made anti-gay jokes, and LGBT people who love the Oscars were legitimately startled to see just how harsh his words were. It wasn’t a… mob of people out to get Kevin Hart. It was a group of people who wanted to understand Hart’s thinking about those hurtful tweets & his stand-up jokes.”
“Finally, it’s depressing that Ellen’s enthusiasm for Hart hosting the Oscars — and he would’ve been a good host! — led her to contribute to a narrative that Hart is the victim of ‘haters’ & ‘trolls’ out to ‘destroy’ him, & if he doesn’t host the Oscars, they’ll ‘win,’ ” he said in conclusion. “Well… if @TheAcademy wants to hire Hart back after he made the simple act of apologizing for hurtful, harmful, anti-gay language into a vicious conspiracy to ruin his entire life, I’m not sure who ‘wins’ in that scenario, either.”
“She’s rich and homophobic jokes don’t affect her,” another user assessed, “by supporting Kevin Hart, Ellen fails all the young LGBTQ people who continue to be affected by a climate where homophobia is ‘just a joke’ ”
Activist DeRay Mckesson expressed dissatisfaction with DeGeneres’ interview style.
“I expected Ellen to actually ask Kevin Hart some sort of challenging question. Anything, really,” he wrote. “But instead, it was just one long monologue from Kevin interspersed with Ellen’s approval. That interview made me miss the previous talk show hosts that asked tough questions.”