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Was Ellen DeGeneres Right in Defending Kevin Hart?

January 5, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart was announced as the Oscar host back in December but he stepped down soon after, following a backlash over homophobic tweets he posted years earlier.

Since then, the Academy has been looking to fill the position with a number of rumored people in contention to host the 91st Oscars.

Now it seems Hart is back in the running after he taped an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, a popular (and powerful) member of the LGBTQ community. DeGeneres, herself a former Oscar host, tweeted: “I had an incredible and honest conversation with @KevinHart4real about hosting the #Oscars. It was supposed to air on Monday. I don’t want you to have to wait, so now it’s gonna air tomorrow.”

DeGeneres shared on her show that she called the Academy and learned that they were open to having Hart step back into the hosting role. “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 defended Hart saying, “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’re done it. Don’t let those people win — host the Oscars.”

For his part, Hart said, “Leaving here, I promise you, I’m evaluating this conversation. This is a conversation I needed to have, I’m glad that I had it here, and I’m glad that it was as authentic and real as I could have hoped that it would be. So let me assess, just to sit in this space and really think, and you and I will talk before anything else.”

As expected, Hart’s appearance on Ellen divided people on social media. GLAAD, the LGBTQ-rights organization, made a clear point to the Academy not to replace Hart, but to instead use the situation as a learning moment during the Oscars telecast.

Where’s the middle ground in all this? Is Hart sincere in changing and seeking to learn from all this? How many chances should someone get? And, most importantly to the Academy, who should host the Oscars?