The Oscars Still Want Kevin Hart, According to Ellen

Ellen says the Academy still wants to host this year’s broadcast and feels that there was some misunderstanding when Hart stepped down. The revelation was made in clips Degeneres posted on Twitter Thursday night from an episode she taped with Hart. Hart said he isn’t sure what he’s going to do, expressing that he feels he needs to take a stand against an attack on his livelihood. The episode will air today on “The Ellen Show.”

The conversation comes after Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars in December, responding to the Academy’s demands that he apologize publicly for Tweets unearthed in 2011 that angered the LGBTQ community. Hart used the “other” F-word and called people gay for behaving in a manner other than manly. Initially Hart refused to apologize for the words, which in 2011 were used by a lot of people who didn’t realize they were offending the LGBTQ community. He said he felt his behavior since 2011 shows that he’s changed, and that he’s not homophobic and that should be enough. He later apologized but only after stepping down as host, making a statement that he was not apologizing to save a job.

In the clips from today’s “Ellen”, the former two-time Oscar host says she called the Academy to vouch for Hart being reinstated the host of this year’s Academy Awards broadcast, and learned that they enthusiastically would like to bring Kevin back on board. “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.'”

She praised Hart as one of the smartest people she knows, as well as one of the funniest, most sophisticated and classy people she knows, and asked him to be the bigger man and not give in to trolls. “Don’t pay attention to the haters, she said. That’s a small group of people being very loud. We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars.”

Hart, on his part, is still upset and angry about the attack on his character. He admits that his use of certain words was wrong in the past, and says for his own children, its important to him to acknowledge when he’s done something wrong to set an example. “I say I’m wrong for my past words,” he said. “I understand that.” But, he said, the unearthing of his 2008-2011 tweets was an attack. “This wasn’t an accident,” he said. “I’m on Social Media every day. To go through 40,000 tweets to go back to 2008, that’s an attack, thats a malicious attack on my character. That’s an attack to end me,” he said adding. “It’s bigger than just the Oscars. It’s about the individuals who are finding success in damaging your ‘celebrity.'” The audience didn’t applaud Hart’s statement which ended with him saying “Somebody has to take a stand against the trolls,” but they did applaud Ellen for saying that if he doesn’t host, then the Trolls win.

The incident led to a broad conversation about homophobia, Ellen said, which is great, but she doesn’t believe Hart should be punished. “As a gay person, I am sensitive to all of that. And I talked to you about this. 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,” said DeGeneres. “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.”

Ultimately Hart did not say whether he would host the Oscars or not but in a second clip, he said he would think about it. “Leaving here, I promise you I’m evaluating this conversation,” he said.

Ellen took a firm stance on twitter backing Hart both as a person, and as host of this year’s Oscars broadcast, and has taken some heat herself for the stance. She wrote, “In this conversation, @KevinHart4real was authentic and real, and I’m in his corner. #OscarsNeedHart”

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