Ellen Kevin Hart Oscars Host Interview Backlash

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Ellen Kevin Hart Oscars Host Interview Backlash


Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

One month ago, Kevin Hart stepped down as the host of the Academy Awards after his old homophobic tweets and jokes surfaced online. At the time, Hart positioned himself as the victim, claiming that he’d changed, and 48 hours after he’d been announced as the Oscars host, he reluctantly resigned from the job.

Now here we are eight weeks away from the award show, the Oscars still have no host, and Hart is attempting to make his comeback. On Thursday afternoon, he taped a lengthy interview with Ellen DeGeneres, which was originally scheduled to air on Monday. However, Ellen deemed it too important and decided to release the clips early.

The conversation began with Hart explaining his side. He told Ellen that he chose to step down as the host because he didn’t want the Oscars to be about him and his tweets. I know I don’t have a homophobic bone in my body,” he said. “I don’t want to have this conversation anymore, because I know who I am. I’m not that guy.”

And Ellen agreed, telling him, “I know you’re not that guy, because I know you.”

Ellen went on to add that she called the Academy on Hart’s behalf and asked for him to be reinstated as the host of the Oscars.

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 continued:

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’ve done it. Don’t let those people win — host the Oscars.

Then, Ellen told Hart that there are a lot of “haters out there on the internet,” and he can’t let them destroy him.

Since the clips appeared online Thursday night, both Hart and Ellen have received some backlash for the conversation—specifically for characterizing those in the LGBTQ community hurt by Hart’s words as “haters.”

(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

(2) …mob of people out to get Kevin Hart. It was a group of people who wanted to understand Hart’s thinking about those hurtful tweets & his stand-up jokes.

Second, in his Ellen interview, Hart referenced apologizing for his past during the GET HARD junket. Well…

— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) January 4, 2019

(3) …when @louisvirtel asked Hart about the vaguely homophobic jokes in GET HARD, like Hart affecting an effeminate voice to evoke fear of prison rape, Hart’s response was, “Funny is funny.” That may be a legit perspective; it isn’t an apology. https://t.co/z92Bslbdhr

— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) January 4, 2019

(4) Third, Hart argued that the fact that his old tweets were found so quickly is evidence of a malicious attack to destroy him personally, b/c people had to go through over 40k tweets to get back to his old ones from 2010 and 2011 (rather than 2008, as he kept saying). Well…

— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) January 4, 2019

(5) …Hart may not be aware, but Twitter has a search function that allows anyone to search anyone else’s history. So if you’re curious if a standup comic hired to host the Oscars had used homophobic language in the past, it takes 10 seconds to find out. https://t.co/FQS89q3o6e

— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) January 4, 2019

(6) Finally, it’s depressing that Ellen’s enthusiasm for Hart hosting the Oscars — and he would’ve been a good host! — led her to contribute to a narrative that Hart is the victim of “haters” & “trolls” out to “destroy” him, & if he doesn’t host the Oscars, they’ll “win.” Well…

— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) January 4, 2019

Ellen giving homophobes the ability to say “but Ellen said it’s okay” is a massive fucking betrayal.

I don’t care how many sitcoms you lost in the 90s.

— Happy Houlidays (@RyanHoulihan) January 4, 2019

Ellen’s show is basically the embodiment of respectability politics, so using it as a platform to absolve Kevin Hart on our behalf sounds pretty much on brand. Her sitcom allowed her to do something radical, which she suffered for, & she’s been running away from that ever since.

— Laurence “Laura Dern” Barber (@bortlb) January 4, 2019

At this point, it’s unclear if the Academy has offered Hart the hosting job back, or if he’s accepted it. A different solution could be to give the hosting job to Donald Glover or Michelle Wolf or Tiffany Haddish or Tig Notaro or Leslie Jones or any number of funny people who are not Kevin Hart.

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