Ellen DeGeneres is getting heat for giving Kevin Hart a platform on her daytime talk show.
Hart was initially tapped late last year to host the upcoming Oscars, but homophobic jokes he made in the past, including jokes about causing harm to his son if he acted “gay,” came back to the surface. Hart claimed to have apologized for those jokes already, but he refused to apologize again, causing the Academy to issue an ultimatium: either he apologize or they will choose another host. Hart eventually decided to step down, citing that he didn’t want to be a distraction at the ceremony.
In an interview that aired Friday, DeGeneres gave Hart, whom she considers a friend, the stage on The Ellen Show to tell how the backlash has affected him.
“The Oscars was one of the highest of highs” on his vision board, Hart told DeGeneres, adding that the next day after he was announced as the host, the allegations of homophobia resurfaced. “My first thought was ‘I’m going to ignore it.’ It’s 10 years old…I’ve apologized for it, I’m going to pay it no mind,” he said. “Another day goes by…this fire is angry,” he said, calling headlines of his refusal to apologize “slander.”
“…I know that I’ve addressed it, I know that I’ve apologized. I know that within my apologies, I’ve taken 10 years to put my apologies to work. I’ve yet to go back to that version of the immature comedian that once was,” he said. “…So now, I’m kinda upset because these 10 years are being ignored, they’re brushed past…No headlines are saying this was 10 years ago, he apologized..No one’s finding the footage of where I’ve addressed it.”
He said he’s addressed and apologized for using hurtful words at past press junkets including the 2015 press junket for Get Hard and a junket in 2012.
“I had to address it and apologize and say that I understand what those words do and how they hurt. I understand why people would be upset which is why I made the choice to not use them any more,” he said. “I don’t joke like that anymore, because that was wrong. That was the guy that was just looking for laughs and that was stupid. I don’t do that anymore.”
To be clear, Hart has mentioned his LGBTQ-themed jokes before, such as in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone. However, in the interview, Hart doesn’t outright say he’s sorry for the jokes. Instead, he gives the impression that he’s only sorry that the jokes could cost his brand in a more sensitive climate.
“The funny thing within that joke is it’s me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities–I panicked,” he said at the time. “It has nothing to do with him, it’s about me. That’s the difference between bringing a joke across that’s well thought-out and saying something just to ruffle feathers. I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now. I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals because we can.”
On DeGeneres’ show, Hart wrapped up his statement regarding his Oscars controversy by saying that Academy’s ultimatum to him made the entire possibility of him hosting feel “like a cloud.”
“What was once the brightest star and brightest light ever just got real dark,” he said.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 4, 2019
DeGeneres supported Hart during his statement and supported his assertion that those who were asking him to apologize were haters who wanted him to destroy his career.
“Somebody has to take a stand against the quote-unquote ‘trolls,’ he said.
“But they’re going to win if you don’t host the Oscars,” DeGeneres responded. “Then they win.”
DeGeneres also said she personally called the Academy to get Hart’s hosting job back. During the interview, The Ellen Show social media pushed the hashtag #OscarsNeedHart. According to Variety, sources suggest that the Oscars are once again open to Hart hosting if Hart is willing to come back to the job.
Social media immediately lit into DeGeneres for spreading the false allegation of haters out to get Hart. They also took her to task for offering an olive branch as if to speak for the entire LGBTQ community.
And I believe in ownership and responsibility for one’s actions. Anyone can be forgiven but “I’m sorry now leave me alone” is not an apology . He was given an opurtunity to address this and put it to bed but he chose to put out an indignant video and is now playing PR clean up pic.twitter.com/Y6mGt0IIG8
— The Last Gallifrean (@MANX38) January 4, 2019
— Lady O. (@oops_narcissist) January 4, 2019
I do not believe in Kevin Hart, nor his belated ‘apology.’ A conversation? Yes, wise and reasonable, but reward him for his self-serving change of heart? No thanks; he has a long way to go as do other previous homophobes.
— James Radford (@jamesradxx) January 4, 2019
I saw this 30 mins after it was posted and I’m glad to come back to this ROAST.
No, Ellen, this ain’t it.
— ashley yates (@brownblaze) January 4, 2019
Hart was not railroaded out of a job. He was asked to apologize, He quit rather than do so. “The mob” did not make this mess. And Ellen DeGeneres saying, “Don’t let those people win” is ugly. “Those people” are people who don’t prioritize a celeb’s hurt feelings above all else. >
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) January 4, 2019
Regarding Ellen DeGeneres…
She condemned Kim Burrell for making homophobic comments that are no different from what Kevin Hart tweeted. The reason why she excused Kevin is because they’re friends. I think that’s bs.
Start holding your friends accountable for their shit.
— Quenchi (@MrQuenchiAdams) January 4, 2019
I admire @TheEllenShow but she’s way off the mark here. I don’t think finding the @KevinHart4real “apology” to be a little insincere and self-serving makes me, or anyone else who feels this way, a “hater.” Ellen can do better. Kevin should do better. And so should @TheAcademy. https://t.co/tfhHQVd9lD
— Ron Carlivati (@carlivatiron) January 4, 2019
Black LGBTQ men in particular spoke out about Hart and DeGeneres, saying that Hart has yet to fully apologize for his past statements, despite his repeated belief of having done so. They say that Hart should directly apologize to Black boys for the harm he’s done against them with his jokes.
My thoughts on Ellen and this absolving of Kevin Hart. pic.twitter.com/tn7Amh6oDv
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) January 4, 2019
No one gives a fuck about black queer people.
Not straight black men rallying around Kevin as if his comments only upset white people (there’s a large black LGBTQ community).
And not the people who let a rich white queer woman co-sign Hart when she’s not part of our community.
— Ira (@ira) January 4, 2019
Ellen knows exactly who her audience is and, shockingly, I don’t think queer black people are at the center of it. https://t.co/hu77M4QdeY
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) January 4, 2019
— Fatniss Neverlean (@edwinbodney) January 4, 2019
Mulitple op-eds have also been published regarding DeGeneres’ blanket apology for Hart while dismissing the concerns of LGBTQ people of color. “I’m not one to tell many people to ‘stay in your lane,’ but Kevin Hart is a Black man who once ‘joked’ he’d break a doll house over the head of his Black son; my granny once said ‘truth is always told in jest,’ wrote Tre’Vell Anderson for Out. “As a Black queer someone who, when my body began to manifest aspects of my identity even I was unaware of–a sway in my walk, a bend in my wrist–was punched in the chest by Black men in my family and told to ‘man up,’ Ellen can’t and doesn’t speak for me.”
DeGeneres has yet to apologize for the fuel she added to this growing controversy. Instead, she tweeted, “However you feel about this, the only positive way through it is to talk about it.”