In an interview with comedian Kevin Hart Friday, Ellen DeGeneres revealed she personally called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to request that the academy re-hire Hart as Oscars host.
Hart stepped down from the role in December, two days after the announcement that he would serve as the 2019 Oscars host. The Academy had demanded he apologize for his homophobic tweets from several years ago that resurfaced following the host announcement.
Hart had initially refused to apologize because he had already “addressed” his past homophobia.
“I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it...” Hart said in an Instagram video last month. “We feed Internet trolls and reward them. I’m not going to do it.”
He ultimately apologized again to the LGBTQ community for “insensitive words from my past.”
In Friday’s interview, DeGeneres called out the social media backlash against Hart’s past comments and said, “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’ve done it. Don’t let those people win — host the Oscars.”
She said she called the Academy and asked them “‘what are your thoughts?’ And they were like, ‘Oh, my God, we want him to host. We feel like 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.’”
DeGeneres also called Hart one of the smartest and funniest people she knows and urged the “Night School” star to stand as “the bigger man” in his war against “haters.” She accompanied footage of the interview on Twitter with, “I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances. And I believe in @KevinHart4real.”
The video clips led to some backlash online from LGBTQ members and supporters, many of whom are part of the black LGBTQ community.
“As a Black queer someone who, when my body began to manifest aspects of my identity even I was unaware of — a sway in my walk, a bend in my wrist — was punched in the chest by Black men in my family and told to ‘man up,’ Ellen can’t and doesn’t speak for me,” Out Magazine director Tre’vell Anderson wrote in an op-ed Friday.
Others took to Twitter to express concern.
People Magazine on Thursday reported the Academy may be reconsidering Hart as host.
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