The “Night School” actor, 39, who stepped down from hosting the 91st Academy Awards last month after his homophobic tweets resurfaced, opened up about the scandal during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, January 4.
“There are a lot of goals that I have on my vision board. There are so many things I want to do I check off as they get done, and Oscars was up there. Oscars was one of the highest of highs, simply because there hasn’t been a lot of African Americans that have been able to do it. I would have been the fourth,” Hart began during his lengthy interview with DeGeneres, who is openly gay and hosted the Oscars in 2007 and 2014. “When it happened, my first thought is, ‘I’m going to ignore it. I’m going to ignore it because it’s 10 years old. This is stuff I’ve addressed. I’ve talked about this. This isn’t new. I’ve addressed it! I’ve apologized for it. I’m not going to pay it any mind.'”
Hart continued speaking, uninterrupted by DeGeneres, for more than six minutes.
“I know I don’t have a homophobic bone in my body. I know that I’ve addressed it. I know that I’ve apologized,” Hart explained, noting he addressed his tweets in 2012 and again during the promotion for his 2015 film Get Hard. “I know that within my apologies I’ve taken 10 years to put my apology to work. I’ve yet to go back to that version of the immature version of the comedian that once was. I’ve moved on. I’m a grown man. I’m cultured. I’m manufactured. I’m a guy that understands now. I looked at life through a different lens, and because of that, I live it a different way.”
“To be put in a position where I was given an ultimatum—’Kevin, apologize or we’re going to have to find another host’— when I was given that ultimatum, this is now becoming like a cloud,” he continued. “What was once the brightest star and brightest light ever just got real dark.”
DeGeneres then revealed that she called the Academy on Hart’s behalf and encouraged him to reconsider hosting the show next month. According to the talk show host, the Academy always wanted Hart for the job. She also believes that they are “secretly hoping” he will come back.
The two-time Oscars host added that if Hart does not host the show, he is letting the trolls “win.”
“They can’t destroy you, because you have too much talent. No one can do that. And for them to stop you from your dream, from what you wanted to do, from what you have a right to do and from what you should be doing, it’s why they haven’t found another host,” DeGeneres said. “As I said to you earlier, I think it’s perfect that this happened, because there needs to be a conversation about homophobia. Whatever [was] brought up and whoever was trying to hurt you, it brought up you reminding people that you’re a bigger person, that you’ve already apologized. You’re apologizing again.”
She added: “As a gay person … I am sensitive to all of that. And I talked to you about this. And you have already expressed that it’s not being educated on the subject, not realizing how dangerous those words are, not realizing how many kids are killed for being gay or beaten up every day. You have grown. You have apologized. You are apologizing again right now. You’ve done it.”
The Academy Awards will air on ABC on Sunday, February 24.
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