During an interview on her show, DeGeneres, 60, asked Hart, 39, to explain the drama.
The funnyman said he was “upset” by people’s harsh reactions to his past offensive tweets and angered that the Academy gave him an ultimatum. He added that he does not have “a homophobic bone” in his body and has apologized for ten years for his bad gay jokes.
“I felt like it was a conversation that was going to continue and continue and continue. I would much rather say ‘I’m sorry’ again and walk away. Because I wanna be done with the conversation. I don’t wanna have to have this conversation anymore because I know who I am. I’m not that guy,” he said, explaining why he stepped down from his Oscars hosting gig.
“I know you’re not that guy, cause I know you,” agreed DeGeneres.
The comedienne then called the Academy and asked them if they would take Hart back, to which they apparently said yes.
"I called them, I said, 'Kevin’s on, I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?' And they were like, 'Oh my God, we want him to host! We feel like that maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong. Maybe we said the wrong thing but we want him to host. Whatever we can do we would be thrilled. And he should host the Oscars,'" she told Hart.
She then said that as a gay person, she is sensitive to gay jokes, but knows he has matured and evolved.
"You have grown, you have apologized, you are apologizing again right now. You’ve done it. Don’t let those people win — host the Oscars,” she concluded in her show.
And while Hart and DeGeneres’ heart-to-heart seemed to be okay for a few minutes, shocked viewers soon started to react — and not in a good way.
“Ellen giving homophobes the ability to say ‘but Ellen said it’s okay’ is a massive f***ing betrayal,” wrote a Twitter user. “I don’t care how many sitcoms you lost in the 90's.”
“This whole ellen/kevin hart thing is a perfect example of how privilege and constant praise distorts a person’s reality so much that they perceive any criticism, however valid, to be an attack on their entire livelihood,” added another.
Though DeGeneres has been a beloved gay icon for years, her fans in and out of the LGBTQ community were extremely disappointed with her response to Hart’s homophobic drama.
“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,” tweeted another user.
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