Ellen DeGeneres is facing backlash for supporting Kevin Hart and actively campaigning to have Hart host the Oscars.
Hart was tapped to host this year’s Oscars but stepped down after old homophobic jokes and tweets resurfaced. DeGeneres invited Hart on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to talk about the fall out with the episode scheduled to air on Monday. However, DeGeneres and her producers were apparently so impressed by the interview that the episode aired on Friday instead.
In the interview, Hart explains that he has repeatedly apologized for the jokes, which were made 10 years ago, and viewed the situation as an attack on his character and an attempt to ruin his career. DeGeneres let Hart know that she fully supports him and even called the Academy on his behalf.
“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,'” DeGeneres says.
She continued to explain that she thinks Hart has learned from his mistakes and deserves to come back as host.
“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,” DeGeneres says. “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.”
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 4, 2019
Some people criticized DeGeneres for labeling people who took issue with the jokes “haters” and “trolls.” There were also people who didn’t believe Hart was being genuine with his apology.
(1) First, the people who brought up Kevin Hart’s past tweets — like me — were not, as Ellen characterized, “haters.” The host of the Oscars had made anti-gay jokes, and LGBT people who love the Oscars were legitimately startled to see just how harsh his words were. It wasn’t a…— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) January 4, 2019
The only thing @KevinHart4real proved by going on Ellen was that he is a terrible actor with zero genuine remorse who didn’t have the decency to address his ignorance. No, they weren’t “haters” who came after you. It was the LGBTQI+ community because we’re sick to shit of it.— Harry Cook (@HarryCook) January 4, 2019
I also believe in forgiveness. But I also believe that forgiveness requires an actual apology. Not “I’m sorry people are so sensitive.” Just “I am sorry.” All he had to do. And he indignantly refused because he felt his moment was being tainted. That he was the aggrieved.— Eamon Paton-Usry (@Eamon2Please) January 4, 2019
this whole ellen/kevin hart thing is a perfect example of how privilege and constant praise distorts a person’s reality so much that they perceive any criticism, however valid, to be an attack on their entire livelihood— ellie (@eleanorbate) January 4, 2019
I feel like if you’re not homophobic anymore, you shouldn’t mind apologizing for your past homophobia again and again and again. I don’t want to hear a hostile retelling of how we didn’t hear your meager apology the first time.— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) January 4, 2019
DeGeneres appeared to notice the backlash as she tweeted, “However you feel about this, the only positive way through it is to talk about it. Thank you for being here, @KevinHart4real. “