Ellen DeGeneres faces backlash for 'defending' Kevin Hart following homophobia furor

Ben Arnold
·5 min read

Ellen DeGeneres moved up the air date for an “incredible and honest” interview with comedian and ex-Oscars host Kevin Hart, which airs Friday.

Tweeting last night, she said: “I had an incredible and honest conversation with @KevinHart4real about hosting the #Oscars. It was supposed to air on Monday. I don’t want you to have to wait, so now it’s gonna air tomorrow.”

But she may wish that she hadn’t.

Hart withdrew from the job of hosting the 91st Oscars in December, less than 48 hours after being announced, after facing fierce criticism when old footage of him performing a homophobic skit about hoping his son never grows up to be gay was re-posted online.

Now the talk show host is facing her own backlash for defending him during the interview, in which she encourages him to take up the hosting gig again.

“As a gay person. I am sensitive to all of that. You’ve 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,” says DeGeneres.

“You have grown, you have apologized, you are apologized again right now. You’ve done it. Don’t let those people win — host the Oscars.”

But many are angry that she appears to have let Hart off the hook, despite the homophobic comments, some of which were made during a comedy special made in 2010 and others which were posted on Twitter.

In the interview Hart says that he’s previously apologized for the comments, and that’s not who he is anymore. He also says that now that DeGeneres has backed him, he’s “evaluating” taking up the job again.

It’s not gone down well.

In the skit from his standup, Hart had said: “Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic. I have nothing against gay people. Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.” The joke then developed further about him being horrified when his 3-year-old son has a “gay moment” with another boy at a party.

One of his Twitter jokes was that if he found his son playing with his daughter’s dollhouse, he’d break it over her head.

Hart spoke out about the jokes since he told them, telling Rolling Stone in 2015 that it spoke of his “own insecurities” and that he “wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now.”

The Oscars ceremony, which is currently without a host, will take place Feb. 25.

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