Ellen DeGeneres Defends Kevin Hart and Calls The Academy to Try to Get Him Re-Hired as Oscars Host
In a sneak peek of the talk show host’s Friday show, DeGeneres revealed not only does her fellow comedian have her full support, but she is also actively campaigning to have him host this year’s Academy Awards.
“I called [The Academy], I said, ‘Kevin’s on, I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?’ And they were like, ‘Oh my God, we want him to host. We feel like that maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong or maybe we said the wrong thing but we want him to host. Whatever we can do we would be thrilled. And he should host the Oscars,'” the Ellen host told Hart.
Hart, 39, announced last month he was stepping down from the role after declaring he would not apologize for his past homophobic comments which were resurfaced after it was announced he would host the Academy Awards. The star later had a change of heart and did apologize.
Despite the tweets and comments he made, DeGeneres said Hart had grown as a person.
“There are so many haters out there, whatever is going on the internet don’t pay attention to them, that’s a small group of people being very, very loud. We’re a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars,” she said.
The host, 60, later added that as a member of the LGBTQ community she is sensitive to homophobic comments but accepted Hart’s apology.
“As a gay person, I am sensitive to all of that. 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. You have grown, you have apologized, you are apologizing again right now. You’re done it.”
“Don’t let those people win — host the Oscars.”
Hart once again reiterated he was sorry but defended his initial reaction — which included saying he was done apologizing — telling DeGeneres he behaved the way he did as he was under attack.
“This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t a coincidence that the day after I received the job, tweets somehow manifested from 2008,” he told the talk show host.
“To go back through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008 that’s an attack, that’s a malicious attack on my character, that’s an attack to end me, that’s not an attack to just stop the Oscars.”
He added: “Somone has to take a stand against the quote-unquote trolls.”
DeGeneres said he had to return to the Oscars to stand up against the trolls.
The Night School star later said he would reassess his decision to walk away from the hosting job.
“This is a conversation I needed to have, I’m glad that I had it here, and I’m glad that it was as authentic and real as I could have hoped that it would be. So let me assess, just to sit in this space and really think, and you and I will talk before anything else.”
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Hart’s sit down with DeGeneres comes as PEOPLE exclusively revealed that The Academy is open to having Hart host this year.
“There has been a steady stream of buzz that things might work out between Kevin and the Academy,” the source told PEOPLE.
“The Academy never really axed him — they wanted him to apologize — he wouldn’t, and then he was the one to drop out.”
“Everyone has noticed that it’s not like the Academy just pivoted to someone else; Kevin is clearly well aware that the job is still wide open. But meanwhile, he has needed to do his own clean-up work in terms of his image after all of this,” the insider continued.
The source explained Hart is now “making the rounds,” apologizing publicly on a number of talk shows, including Ellen. “It’s all they ever wanted him to do, and he’s doing it in spades. So now he should be able to come back on his own terms,” the source tells PEOPLE.
The actor is also expected to appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“It all hinges on how well he does these apologies,” the insider explained. “In the end, if the shows are good, it’s pretty much his to take again, if he wants it.”
Hart’s full interview will air on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Friday.