Kevin Hart Could Return to Host the Oscars After Controversy

Kevin Hart may not be forgoing the Oscars after all, with a little help from Ellen DeGeneres.

Hart appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in his first televised interview since stepping down as host of the 2019 Oscars after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked him to apologize for years-old homophobic tweets.

While speaking to DeGeneres on Friday's episode of her eponymous talk show, Hart discussed his thought process in apologizing for the tweets and stepping down as host. Click here to watch a clip of the episode.

"My first thought is, 'I’m going to ignore it. I’m going to ignore it because it’s 10 years old.' This is stuff I’ve addressed. I’ve talked about this. This isn’t new,” he explaied. "I’m not going to pay it any mind because if you feed into that stuff, you only feed into the fire."

Adding that he doesn't "have a homophobic bone in my body," he said that following those decades-old tweets, he took the last 10 years to change as a person.

"I’ve yet to go back to that version of the immature comedian that once was. I moved on. I’m a grown man, I’m cultured,” he explained. "I understand what those words do and how they hurt. I understand why people would be upset, which is why I made the choice to not use them anymore. I don’t joke like that anymore, because that was wrong."

He said when the Academy gave him the ultimatum to apologize or step down, he felt that the hosting role had gone from "the brightest star and the brightest light ever" to "a cloud."

"I don’t want to step on that stage and make that night about me and my past when you’ve got people who have worked hard to step on that stage for the first time and receive an award,” he said. "I’m now taking away from all of those moments because the night is focused on something else now.”

DeGeneres said that she spoke with the Academy ahead of Hart's appearance and asked the organization if it would take him back.

"They were like, ‘Oh my god, we want him to host. We feel like maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong or maybe he said the wrong thing, but we want him to host. Whatever we can do, we would be thrilled,’” she said.

Hart seemed hesitant about the situation, calling it "an attack to end me," but DeGeneres pressed on, saying that he could make an important statement by resuming the gig.

“[The trolls are] going to win if you don’t host the Oscars,” she said. "You can’t let them destroy you and they can’t destroy you because you have too much talent. No one can do that. For them to stop you from your dream, from what you wanted to do and what you have a right to do, what you should be doing. It’s why they haven’t found another host. I think they were secretly hoping that you would come back.”

She even said that she feels his subsequent apologies and the way he conducts himself today make up for the hurtful language he used in reference to the LGBTQ community.

Hart did not make a decision during the interview, but said he would put some thought into DeGeneres' words.

0comments

"You have said a lot of amazing things. You have put a lot of things on my mind. I know where our relationship stands," he said. "So leaving here, I promise you I’m evaluating this conversation. This is a conversation I needed to have. Let me assess, just to sit in the space and really think and you and I will talk before anything else."

Regardless of who ends up hosting, the 91st Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on Feb. 24 on ABC.