Kevin Hart Said He's 'Done' with Hosting Oscars Hours Before Reconsidering on The Ellen Show
Hart told Variety he was “done” with hosting the awards show, saying, “Would I ever do it? No, it’s done. It’s done.”
“The moment came and it was a blessing and I was excited at the opportunity and I still am,” Hart said. “In my mind, I got the job, it was a dream job, and things came up that simply prohibited it from happening. But I don’t believe in going backward.”
He added, “There’s no ill will toward the Academy.”
When talking to DeGeneres, however, Hart 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,” he told the host.
Hart — who was announced as Oscars host in early December only to step down days later after previous homophobic tweets by him resurfaced — told Variety he was doing “fine” after the controversy.
“You’re living in a time where words and point of views can be misconstrued because of how strong the Internet is. The manipulation of headlines is what was amazing when this whole thing hit,” he explained. “It was, ‘Kevin Hart Steps Down Because He Refuses to Apologize for Homophobic Tweets.’ The word, again, somehow got lost, which is a major word. I’ve addressed this several times, I apologized and after apologizing I said I understand why people would be upset from these tweets, why people would be hurt, why people would be damaged. You know what? I get it. Not only am I sorry, I’m going to make it a point to never joke like this again.”
Hart admitted he stepped down from the hosting position partly because he did not want his job to become “an apology tour.”
“For me to take the moment of hosting the Oscars into an apology tour — because that’s what it would become — that didn’t make sense to me,” he shared. “Me doing the Oscars was to take the tension out of the Oscars. It’s been so uptight for the last I don’t know how many years. ‘Kevin we want you to host because we want you to lighten the mood up and bring you and your essence to this night.'”
“It just made me say to myself I’m not going to play the game that society wants people to play right now. Your past is your past for a reason,” Hart continued. “When you apologize for something, it’s either your apology is accepted or it’s not. If it is and we say we’re moving forward then we’re moving forward. What you do when you move forward is become better.”
While it’s unclear if Hart will return as Oscars host, he did promise that he would make it onto the famous stage.
“When I go on that stage, it will be because I’ve somehow figured out a way to win the Oscar,” Hart said. “Somehow I’ll get to the stage but it’s not going to be in this way because it just comes with such a weird cloud at this point.”
Hart also took the opportunity to apologize again for his previous statements, saying, “I stepped down because I’m not going to allow this to tarnish an amazing night for the other actors and actresses that are going to be on stage that night.”
“It should be about Kevin Hart and his tweets of old,” he added. “And I’ll state it again, to anybody I’ve hurt, I’m sorry.”
A source told PEOPLE earlier on Friday there is still a chance Hart might get his job back now that he’s apologized.
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“The Academy did not ask him to step down,” the insider said. “They asked him if would apologize and address his past comments. If he was asked back as host it would be because he has now done so.”
Hart recently appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he apologized for his past homophobic tweets that sparked the backlash. DeGeneres meanwhile revealed in the interview that she’s actively campaigning to have Hart reinstated as host.
“Ellen did, in fact, call the Academy about reinstating Hart,” the insider confirmed. “While Ellen’s re-telling of the conversation is a loose paraphrasing of it, the bottom line is this: Hart was always among the top choices to host this year’s show.”
The 91st Academy Awards will air live from Los Angeles on Feb. 24. at 8 p.m. ET.