In an interview released Friday via EllenTube, Ellen Degeneres supported Kevin Hart’s reinstatement as Oscars host, despite Hart’s resignation after his homophobic comments from 2009 resurfaced. During the interview, Hart consumed the majority of talking time revisiting the events leading to his being named host, then stepping down, and pontificating on how taking the job was one of his major career goals, eventually accented by Degeneres revealing that she had called the Academy and requested he be given the job back.
According to the New York Times, no one is certain who exactly Degeneres spoke to at the Academy, but she assured viewers and her fellow comedian that they’d love to have Hart come back. Despite Hart telling the Variety podcast Playback that returning to the awards show as host was not an option, saying, “Would I ever do it? No, it’s done. It’s done,” the comedian took a step back after hearing what Degeneres had done. Unsure, Hart didn’t commit to a yes or no. Instead, he reiterated his fear that his hosting would take attention away from award winners—he then called the resurfacing of old tweets an attack meant to ruin his career.
“On my side, openly, I say I’m wrong for my past words. I say it. I said it. I understand that. I know that. My kids know when their dad messes up, I’m in front of it because I want to be an example so they know what to do,” Hart said. “In this case, it’s tough for me because it was an attack. This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t a coincidence that the day after I received the job that tweets just somehow manifested from 2008. To go 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.”
Not only are Hart’s apologies dismissive, but he also doesn’t realize how damaging it is to antagonize those who brought the tweets back into the public eye. Calling the actions of people concerned over potential homophobia a “malicious attack” perpetuates the harmful logic that people shouldn’t be held accountable for bigotry. Instead of making the interview about himself and spinning a sob story about how hosting the Oscars was his dream job, Hart could have spent that time endorsing an LGBTQ+ comedian to take his place, donating money to a charity, or literally anything other than dismantling any concern over hiring a possibly bigoted host for a major awards show.
The 91st Academy Awards will air live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. ET.