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Ellen DeGeneres Begs Kevin Hart To Host The Oscars, Faces Fiery Backlash

Hart also said he'd reconsider hosting the 2019 Academy Awards, weeks after his old homophobic jokes and comments resurfaced.

Ellen DeGeneres is fighting for actor and comedian Kevin Hart to be reinstated as the host of the 2019 Academy Awards. But her campaign has not been well received on Twitter.

In a clip of Friday’s broadcast of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the talk show host revealed she actually called up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and asked for Hart to be given back the role. After some urging from DeGeneres, Hart said he’d consider hosting.

Hart stepped down as the ceremony’s host in December, just two days after being awarded the gig, after historic tweets and comments he made using homophobic language came to light again. 

After some delay, Hart eventually tweeted an apologetic explanation. He told DeGeneres he didn’t apologize right away because he didn’t want to add fuel to the fire for something he’d already said he was sorry for in the past. 

DeGeneres said she accepted his apology, and told him:

“I called them (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. 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.’”

Hart doubled down on his apology, but then criticized the people who had resurfaced his old offensive tweets. “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,” he said.

“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,” Hart added.

DeGeneres acknowledged that “as a gay person” she had been “sensitive” to Hart’s homophobic comments.

“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’ve done it.

“Host the Oscars.”

DeGeneres used the #OscarsNeedHart hashtag in a Twitter post promoting the sitdown chat.

Check out the clip here:

In a further preview clip, Hart said that his conversation with DeGeneres was one “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,” he said. “So, let me assess, just to sit in this space and really think, and you and I will talk before anything else.”

Check out that clip here:

Later in the episode, which aired Friday, DeGeneres continued to pressure Hart to reconsider hosting the Oscars. She even introduced him after a commercial break as “this year’s Oscars host, Kevin Hart.”

In response, Hart told DeGeneres she had “put a lot of things on my mind” and said he would consider her advice.

“Leaving here, I promise you, I’m evaluating this conversation,” he told her.

The interview sparked outrage on Twitter:

And it inspired this Twitter thread from BuzzFeed film reporter Adam B. Vary:

The academy still hasn’t announced a replacement host for the annual awards show, set for Feb. 24.

This story has been updated with more details from Hart and DeGeneres’ interview.

Carla Herreria contributed to this report.

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