Oops. Beloved talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is receiving backlash online for defending Kevin Hart. Last month, he made headlines everywhere when he stepped down from hosting the Oscars after decade-old homophobic tweets of his resurfaced online.
During their sit-down, which was filmed Thursday, Jan. 3 and will air Friday, Jan. 4, Ellen said she called The Academy earlier that day to see what they thought of Kevin changing his mind about hosting the award show late next month. “We want him to host, whatever we can do, we would be thrilled, and he should host,” Ellen said of their reaction.
In early December, Kevin made it clear that it was his choice to step down after The Academy insisted that he apologize for the old tweets. “So I just got a call from The Academy. That call basically said, ‘Kevin, apologize for your tweets or we’re going to have to move on and find another host,’” he began. “The reason that I passed is I’ve addressed it several times. That’s not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it,” he explained.
Hours later, he took to Instagram again to share his decision to step down. “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s… this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” he wrote. “I’m sorry that I hurt people… I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
During Ellen and Kevin’s sit-down, the talk show host encouraged Kevin not to worry about Internet “haters” who triggered his decision to back out. “Don’t pay attention to them; they are a small group of people who are very, very loud. We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars. They will win if you don’t host the Oscars. You can’t let them destroy you because you have too much talent, and for them to stop you from your dream, from what you want to do, what you have the right to do, what you should be doing… Don’t let those people win, host the Oscars… That’s why they (The Academy) haven’t found another host, because they are secretly hoping that you would come back,” she said.
Kevin replied, “It’s tough for me because it was an attack, a malicious attack on my character, to end me.” But after his powerful conversation with Ellen, Kevin admitted he may be changing his mind. “Leaving here, I promise you I’m evaluating this conversation. Let me assess, just sit in the space and really think, and you and I will talk before anything else.”
Since then, however, people have come out in droves to slam Ellen for seemingly defending his actions. “So very disappointed in you, Ellen,” one person wrote on Instagram. “You do not speak for the LGBTQ community.” Another fumed, “Woah, woah, woah!!!!! Ellen, please answer me this. How is anyone [sic] of this fair?? Just because he’s a funny comedian everyone enjoys watching……. why does he get a pass?”
No host has been announced in Kevin’s place as of yet. The 2019 Oscars (and the 90th award show) will air on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
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