It pays to have friends in high places. And in Kevin Hart‘s case, having fellow comedian Ellen DeGeneres in his corner could lead to his redemption of sorts. Ellen was expected to reveal on her daytime talk show Friday that she appealed to her friends at the Oscars to let Hart host the annual awards ceremony after he apologized for tweeting homophobic sentiments years ago.
Hart previously stepped down from hosting duties just days after he accepted the gig last month. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Hart was deliberating whether he should go back to hosting, although it was unclear if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was still interested in having him as the face of this year’s Oscars.
“In an emotional, hourlong appearance on Ellen that will air Friday, Kevin Hart says he is ‘evaluating’ reclaiming his role as the 2019 Oscars host after Ellen DeGeneres called the Academy to vouch for him following a controversy over past anti-gay tweets,” the Hollywood Reporter wrote early Friday morning.
DeGeneres’ appeal to the Academy could hold significant weight because 1) she is a previously (and successfully) hosted the 86th Academy Awards ceremony and 2) she is gay. A strong co-sign from a prominent member of the gay community could go a long way here.
Back in 2011, Hart wrote on Twitter, “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.’” Another tweet said Damon Wayans’ avatar looked like “a gay bill board for AIDS.”
Hart refused to apologize—twice—after the tweets surfaced because he claimed it was already “addressed” years ago. He said on social media, “I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is I’ve addressed this several times… 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. I’m not going to continue to go back. We feed on Internet trolls and we reward them. I’m not going to do it. I’m going to stand my ground. Regardless Academy, I’m thankful for the opportunity. If it goes away, no harm, no foul.”
After announcing he was stepping down from hosting the Oscars, he finally apologized.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” he said. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past. 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.”
Interestingly enough, while DeGeneres and Hart discussed the homophobic tweets the led to him quitting the Oscars, there was apparently no talk about the disparaging jokes he’s performed ridiculing about dark-skinned Black women, which raises questions about the priorities of both Ellen and the Academy.
Watch a portion of Ellen’s interview with Hart below.
The 91st Academy Awards ceremony was scheduled to be televised on Feb. 24.