Kevin Hart probably wished to silence the backlash by appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week. In a segment that aired Friday, DeGeneres spoke to the embattled comedian about his decision to step away from hosting the 2019 Oscars. Hart had removed himself after a series of homophobic tweets from 2008 - 2009 resurfaced. On Ellen, DeGeneres said that she still wanted Hart to host, and that she'd called the Academy to see if they would reconsider. In turn, Hart said that he was "assessing" his decision to not host.
"You have said a lot of amazing things. You have put a lot of things on my mind," Hart told DeGeneres when the host implied that he would still host the ceremony. "Let me assess — just to sit in the space and really think. And you and I will talk before anything else."
The effort has been met with new backlash, this time mostly aimed at DeGeneres. In the interview, DeGeneres reduced the criticism of Hart to "haters," claiming that the complaints were just a "small group of people being very, very loud."
The interview has already inspired an Op-Ed from Out entertainment director Tre'Vell Anderson titled "The Problem with Ellen DeGenere's Kevin Hart Interview." Many have pointed out that Hart's tweets were directed at gay men — specifically, one joke was aimed at his son — and not wealthy white queer women. Thus, DeGeneres can't speak for the community that Hart hurt. Moreover, Hart still doesn't seem apologetic. The comedian deemed the finding of the tweets a "malicious attack" on his character and claimed that this was an attempt to derail his entire career.
A number of people are upset that DeGeneres was so gentle with the comedian, who ostensibly could save his career with one efficient and effusive apology. Pod Save the People host DeRay McKesson pointed out on Twitter that DeGeneres had essentially brought Hart onto the show for a puff piece.
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. That interview made me miss the previous talk show hosts that asked tough questions.— deray (@deray) January 4, 2019
Ellen had the opportunity to hold Kevin Hart accountable for what he said about the LGBTQ+ community but instead she gave him the space to make himself out to be the fucking victim when he was the one who made vicious comments on Twitter.— 💋 (@MJFinesseLover) January 4, 2019
Comedian Billy Eichner, who previously released a statement regarding Hart's homophobic tweets, has been retweeting criticism of DeGeneres from journalists George M. Johnson and Adam B. Vary.
The Oscars awards ceremony will occur February 24, 2019.