Kevin Hart went on Ellen and discussed his decision to step down from hosting the Oscars after homophobic tweets from his past resurfaced.
Ellen DeGeneres, a friend of Hart’s, allowed him to explain the outrage and news cycle from his perspective. She then told him that she had spoken to the Academy and wants Hart to take back the gig, starting the hashtag #OscarsNeedHart.
DeGeneres described going to dinner with Hart after she hosted the 2014 Oscars, when he expressed his desire to get the gig. Hart reiterated that he had always wanted to host, that he would be the fourth black person in history to get the job.
Hart described having to address the tweets at press events over the years, including as recently as 2015 while promoting the film Get Hard with Will Ferrell .
“I had to address it and apologize and say I understand what those words do and how they hurt,” he said. “I understand why people would be upset which is why I made the choice to not use them anymore. I don’t joke like that anymore because that was wrong.”
Hart detailed the news cycle following his Oscar hosting announcement as a dark cloud. He felt the discourse would take away from his hosting and then chose to step down.
DeGeneres said that she spoke to the Academy and that they were onboard and felt the situation was “mishandled.” Hart described the reemergence of tweets from 2010 as “a malicious attack” intended to destabilize his career.
“You have grown, you have apologized,” DeGeneres said. “You are apologizing again right now. Don’t let those people win. Host the Oscars.”
The segment has already sparked backlash online, but the fact remains that Hart was never fired from the Oscars and told DeGeneres he will “evaluate” their conversation.
The Oscars (which don’t currently have a host) air Feb. 24 on ABC.