Hart, who stepped down as Oscars host after the resurfacing of past homophobic tweets prompted a wave of outcry, taped an interview with DeGeneres set to air on her talk show Friday, in which she encouraged Hart host the awards show and revealed that she had contacted The Academy.
“I called them, 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. 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,” she said in a clip released ahead of the episode’s airing.
“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," she continued. “You have grown, you have apologized, you are apologizing again right now. You’ve done it. Don’t let those people win — host the Oscars.”
The interview clips did not settle well with many on social media, with many criticizing the talk show host for giving Hart a platform to speak on and for giving his homophobic comments a pass.
In a thread by BuzzFeed reporter Adam Vary, it was said that “the people who brought up Kevin Hart's past tweets — like me — were not, as Ellen characterized, 'haters,’” and that those who had brought attention to the tweets “were legitimately startled to see just how harsh his words were.”
“It’s depressing that Ellen's enthusiasm for Hart hosting the Oscars.. 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,’” Vary concluded.
Another person criticized Ellen for speaking for the entire LGBT community, writing, “I love that Ellen has decided for all queer men that we’re actually okay with what Kevin Hart said because she knows him personally and he’s nice.”
Hart announced in December that he had chosen to step down as host of the 91st Oscars, at the time issuing an apology for his past behavior. So far, a replacement has not been announced.