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Watch: Ellen DeGeneres Defends Kevin Hart Over Anti-Gay Tweets, Still Wants Him to Host Oscars

Friday Jan 4, 2019
Kevin Hart talks to Ellen DeGeneres on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
Kevin Hart talks to Ellen DeGeneres on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."  (Source:Screen shot via EllenTube)

It was reported Thursday that Kevin Hart appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres" show and that the interview would air Monday. But Ellen took to Twitter later that day to announce the episode with Hart, where the comedians discuss his Oscars controversy, will air Friday.

In the interview, Ellen defends Hart in the wake of his anti-gay tweets and standup jokes that cost him his gig hosting the 91st Academy Awards in February. A sneak peek of the episode shows Ellen not only fully supporting Hart, but also actively campaigning for him to return as host.

"I called [The Academy], 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,' " she told Hart. " '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.' "

After it was announced in early December that Hart would host the Oscars, a backlash ensued against the comedian due to homophobic tweets he made and jokes in his standup. After firing off an Instagram post in which he refused to apologize, Hart eventually did apologize to the LGBTQ community and announced he was stepping down as host.

Nevertheless, Ellen, who has hosted the Oscars herself, said Hart has grown as a person.

"There are so many haters out there, whatever is going on the internet don't pay attention to them, that's a small group of people being very, very loud," she said. "We're a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars."

Ellen also notes that as a gay person she's sensitive to anti-gay rhetoric, but she has accepted Hart's apology.

"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," she said. "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," she added.

Hart again apologized for his comments but still defended himself, saying he was done apologizing and told Ellen he behaved the way he did because he felt he was under attack.

"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," Hart told Ellen. "To go back through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008 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."

"Someone has to take stand against the quote-unquote trolls," he continued, adding that he would reassess his decision to step down as Oscars host.

"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," Hart said. "So let me assess, just to sit in this space and really think, and you and I will talk before anything else."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has yet to announce a replacement host. It was also reported that the group was considering having no host at all.

But People magazine is reporting The Academy is apparently still open to Hart hosting the Oscars after all.

"There has been a steady stream of buzz that things might work out between Kevin and the Academy," a source told the publication. "The Academy never really axed him — they wanted him to apologize — he wouldn't, and then he was the one to drop out.

"Everyone has noticed that it's not like the Academy just pivoted to someone else; Kevin is clearly well aware that the job is still wide open," they added. "But meanwhile, he has needed to do his own clean-up work in terms of his image after all of this."

The source goes on to say that Hart is now "making the rounds" and apologizing on a number of talk shows. Hart is set to appear on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

"It's all they ever wanted him to do, and he's doing it in spades. So now he should be able to come back on his own terms," the source told People. "It all hinges on how well he does these apologies. In the end, if the shows are good, it's pretty much his to take again, if he wants it."

Watch clips of Hart's interview with Ellen below.

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