Ellen DeGeneres begs Kevin Hart to host the Oscars, sparks furious backlash on Twitter
On Friday's broadcast of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Kevin Hart appears as a guest for the full hour to discuss the Oscars controversy.
Last month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hired Hart to host the show, a life-long dream for the comedian. However, after the announcement, critics unearthed homophobic tweets from Hart's past. In the tweets, he used the word f**, compared someone's profile pic to a "gay billboard for AIDS" and joked: "Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.'"
An exasperated Hart responded on Instagram, explaining that the tweets were old - from 2009, 2010, 2011 - and he had grown as a person since then. He said he already addressed this subject in the past and did not feel he had to do so again. This response just threw gasoline on the fiery backlash. Hours later, Hart stepped down from hosting and apologized to the LBTQ community for "the insensitive words in my past."
One month later, the Oscars still doesn't have a host, and Hart is speaking out for the first time. In a preview clip, he doubles down on his apology, and expresses frustration that he has continue apologizing for these old offensive tweets. Also, he questions the motives of the Twitter mob that resurfaced them.
"This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t a coincidence that the day after I received the job, tweets somehow manifested from 2008," he said. "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,” Hart added.
In response, Ellen acknowledges that she was "sensitive" to Hart's comments "as a gay person." (To which Hart jokingly expresses shock: "What?!") However, she forgives him for his mistakes: "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 said. “You have grown, you have apologized, you are apologizing again right now. You’ve done it."
In another preview clip, Ellen begs Hart to host the Oscars, and reveals that she 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 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.’"
However, Ellen's campaign to hire Kevin Hart back sparked a furious backlash on Twitter, because that's pretty much all Twitter is for these days: shouting outrage into the abyss. Twitter users accused Ellen of "betrayal," accused Hart of showing "no remorse," and claimed that if you're really not homophobic you wouldn't mind endlessly apologizing for your past homophobic statements.
Buzzfeed Reporter film reporter Adam B. Vary tweeted a lengthy response, stating that there is no conspiracy or malicious mob of "haters" - the LGBTQ community was simply offended by his anti-gay jokes. Vary also questions whether Hart really did address the offensive tweets in the past, as he claims.
The Oscars airs on February 24, 2019, and still does not have a host. Probably because nobody wants to be subjected to a purity test by the blue checks on Twitter.