Ellen Degeneres has been blasted online for backing Kevin Hart to return as the 2019 Oscars host after he stepped down from the job following controversy over his old tweets.
The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle actor walked away from hosting the Academy Awards in December (18) after offensive tweets he wrote between 2008 and 2011 resurfaced and he was accused of being homophobic. The comedian rejected the Academy bosses’ demand to apologize, insisting he had done so several times before, and stepped down before saying sorry once again.
He opened up about the controversy during an hour-long interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday (04Jan19) and the host asked him to consider returning to the role, revealing she had spoken with Academy bosses and they said they wanted him back. She also told him not to pay attention to the “online haters” and, “as a gay person”, she could appreciate he’d apologized before and learned from his mistakes.
Ellen received backlash for forgiving Kevin from social media users, such as journalist Adam B. Vary, one of the first people to share Kevin’s tweets after he got the Oscars job, who blasted her for calling the LGBTQ community “haters”.
“It’s depressing that Ellen’s enthusiasm for Hart hosting the Oscars — and he would’ve been a good host! — led her to contribute to a narrative that Hart is the victim of ‘haters’ & ‘trolls’ out to ‘destroy’ him, & if he doesn’t host the Oscars, they’ll ‘win,'” he wrote.
Author and activist DeRay Mckesson added, “I expected Ellen to actually ask Kevin Hart some sort of challenging question. Anything, really. But instead, it was just one long monologue from Kevin interspersed with Ellen’s approval.”
Comedian and writer Ryan Houlihan stated, “Ellen giving homophobes the ability to say ‘but Ellen said it’s okay’ is a massive f**king betrayal.”
Others took issue with Kevin’s comments, with actor/author Harry Cook posting, “The only thing @KevinHart4real proved by going on Ellen was that he is a terrible actor with zero genuine remorse who didn’t have the decency to address his ignorance. No, they weren’t ‘haters’ who came after you. It was the LGBTQI+ community because we’re sick to s**t of it.”
Journalist Louis Virtel added, “I feel like if you’re not homophobic anymore, you shouldn’t mind apologizing for your past homophobia again and again and again. I don’t want to hear a hostile retelling of how we didn’t hear your meager apology the first time.”
Neither Kevin, Ellen or representatives for the Academy have publicly responded to the reaction.