Kevin Hart appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to promote his upcoming comedy-drama, The Upside co-starring Bryan Cranston. Of course, Hart had to address the Oscars controversy over decade-old homophobic tweets that spiraled into him resigning from that hosting gig within days. The comedian and DeGeneres were spending the majority of their conversation on the outrage and its aftermath when the talk show host revealed that she reached out to the Academy to re-hire Hart. The awarding body is still interested, according to DeGeneres.
“They were like, ‘Oh my God, we want him to host,'" DeGeneres said. "'We feel like maybe it was misunderstood or it was handled wrong or maybe we said the wrong thing, but we want him to host. Whatever we could do, we would be thrilled.’”
DeGeneres, herself a former Oscars host, then defended Hart, calling the internet critics and mudslingers "a small group of people being very loud." But the normally enthusiastic Hart was hesitant because he believed that the offending comments popping up right after his hosting job got announced was a concentrated attack.
“To any attack, there’s another side," Hart said. "There’s always an A-side and there’s a B-side. On my side, I say, openly, I’m wrong for my past words. I said it. I understand that. I know that. My kids know when their dad messes up, I’m in front of it because I want to be an example so they know what to do. In this case, it’s tough for me because it was an attack. This wasn’t an accident; it wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t a coincidence that the day after I received the job that tweets just manifested from 2008.
“To go through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008. That’s an attack. That’s a malicious attack on my character. That’s an attack to end me. That’s not an attack to just stop the Oscars.”
DeGeneres still remained steadfast in her believe that Hart should host the Oscars, because it's his dream.“But [the trolls] are gonna win, if you don’t host the Oscars," DeGeneres said. "So for you to stand up and say, ’No,’ whoever you are…who knows who this person is or people? Who cares? You can’t let them destroy you and they can’t destroy you because you have too much talent. And for them to stop you from your dream, to do 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.”
Her plea was strong enough for Hart to say he'd be "evaluating" taking the Academy up on their offer.
When the homophobic tweets resurfaced, Hart drew further criticism for not apologizing, saying that he addressed the tweets in the past. It wasn't until he stepped down as the Academy Awards' host that he apologized to the LGBTQ community.
Hart gave his account of that days-long span when he was the official Oscars host in the interview, which airs on Friday instead of Monday because DeGeneres didn't want her viewers to wait for what she calls an "incredible and honest conversation." Read Hart's take below.
When it happened, my first thought is I’m gonna ignore it. I’m gonna ignore it because it was 10 years old. This is stuff I’ve addressed. I’ve talked about this. This isn’t new—I’ve addressed it. I’ve apologized for it; I’m not gonna pay it any mind. Because when you feed into that stuff, you only add more fuel to the fire.
I know that within my apologies, I’ve taken 10 years to put my apology to work. I’ve yet to go back to that version of the immature comedian that I once was. I’ve moved on. I’m a grown man. I’m cultured. I’m manufactured. I’m a guy that understands now—I look at life through a different lens and because of that I live it a different way.
So now I'm kind of upset because these 10 years are being ignored. They're being brushed past. Nobody is saying, guys this is 10 years. No headline is saying 10 years ago, he apologized. Nobody is finding the apologies. Nobody is finding the footage from when I had to address it. I had to address it when I did the Get Hard promo with Will Ferrell, because of a joke that I had about my son. I had to address it in 2012 in a very heavy junket, where I was asked questions about homophobia based on those tweets. And I had to address it and apologize and say I understand those words 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. That was a guy that was just looking for laughs and that was stupid. I don't do that anymore.
So to be put in a position where I was given an ultimatum—'Kevin apologize or we’re going to have to find another host'—when I was given that ultimatum, this is now becoming like a cloud. What was once the brightest star, the brightest light ever, just got real dark. The Oscars is no longer about Kevin Hart stepping on that stage and taking an intense night where people are so uptight and making it loose and fun. That’s my reason for doing it: I’m gonna bring fun to the Oscars. I’m gonna make the Oscars fun. Now all of a sudden it’s a little darker, because the conversation isn’t about me hosting the Oscars. The conversation is about Kevin Hart’s tweets from 10 years ago and homophobia. I don’t want to step on stage to make that night about me and my past, when you’ve had people who’ve worked hard to step on that stage for the first time and receive an award. I’m now taking away from all those moments because the night is focused on something else now.