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In clips of an interview airing today, Ellen DeGeneres reveals she called the Academy to get Kevin Hart reinstated as host of the 2019 Oscars. It also appears the Academy is interested in reinstating him.
“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?'” she says in a video clip from her upcoming Ellen DeGeneres Show. “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 also tweeted a clip from her show on Twitter late Thursday night, with the hashtag #OscarsNeedHart, garnering some support, even from the LGBTQ community. The resurfacing of Hart’s old homophobic material was what caused the host to step down from hosting in December.
As a 27 year old gay man after watching the @KevinHart4real interview with @TheEllenShow I can honestly, and openly, say that the #OscarsNeedHart. It’s who you are now, what you’ve done since, and who you aspire to be in the future for you and your children. #DontLetThemWin— Blake Staake (@blakestaake) January 4, 2019
I'm with #KevinHart. Everybody makes mistakes. We learn from our trials & tribulations & turn problems into solutions. I fully except his apology. #Oscars2019 #OscarsNeedHart ❣️💟 https://t.co/CsKjsahSQD— John Richardson ♑ (@Solomon33John) January 4, 2019
#OscarsNeedHart @KevinHart4real @TheEllenShow I support Hart & this convo speaks volumes. Everyone makes mistakes & we can't hold people back for years old words that have been apologized for. There's choice either watch the Oscar's or not, no one is perfect, respect the growth https://t.co/dmgdEm7jZb— MasterYabster (@MasterYabster) January 4, 2019
However, not everyone’s on board. Many did not understand how DeGeneres, who had to fight tooth-and-nail to come out on network television decades ago, would go to bat for Hart’s homophobic messages. Or why the Academy just can’t choose someone who hasn’t offended a swath of the population.
Genuinely wonder why Ellen DeGeneres, who probably lost her primetime sitcom and chance at extended syndication because of the late-90s/early 00's anti-gay backlash, would lend herself to Hart's defense.— Brian (@Pithy_Remark) January 4, 2019
News flash to straight people: Ellen DeGeneres is neither the ambassador or spokesperson for the LGBTQ community. She doesn't get to grant clemency on behalf of the entire community.— Alex "Klobuchar 2020" Kendrick (@AJ_Kendrick) January 4, 2019
Woof. Ellen Degeneres can personally keep these things to herself. https://t.co/zSZ9Nf6Yhp— Mischa Bortion ❄️ (@zeeleis) January 4, 2019
can't fucking believe Ellen DeGeneres is choosing to rehabilitate Kevin Hart.— Justin Martin (@jmartinwrites) January 4, 2019
Are we *sure* about this #OscarsNeedHart thing? Maybe his career can recover, maybe he'll host in the future, but is there really no one else who might be a little less divisive for this year? Hint: @WhoopiGoldberg.— Ben Rylan (@benrylan) January 4, 2019
One user is using the hashtag to actually mobilize people against having him reinstated.
In the Ellen clips, Hart responds that the resurfaced tweets of his homophobic material were “a malicious attack” on his character because it meant people had to weed out more than 40,000 of his tweets. He also implied that it was a smear campaign, and intended to “damage” him, his projects, and his investments. It’s “bigger than the Oscars,” he says—which is precisely the point the LGBTQ community and its allies have been trying to make all along.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque