CNN host Don Lemon is not buying Kevin Hart’s apology or his recent interview on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, in which the possibility of the comedian returning as the 2019 Academy Awards host was discussed.
Lemon used his show “CNN Tonight” to address Hart’s response to the controversy over resurfaced homophobic tweets that forced him to step down as the host last month. According to Lemon, there was no record of Hart ever apologizing for his tweets until the recent fallout.
“We have to stop low-key co-signing homophobia. It’s not cool,” Lemon said. “We won’t tolerate jokes that do otherwise.”
The comedian stepped down from hosting the Oscars, which he called a dream job, after mounting pressure from the LGBTQ community and its allies over resurfaced homophobic tweets from several years ago.
He initially tried to dismiss the controversy, but revealed that he’d stepped down after the Academy called to tell him to apologize or “we’re going to have to move on and find another host.”
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” he tweeted at the time. “This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
DeGeneres has received backlash over her interview with Hart that aired this week, in which she revealed that she called the Academy of Arts and Sciences to ask its leaders to reconsider Hart. Many are complaining that the interview portrayed Hart as a victim.
“We want him to host. We feel like maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong, or maybe we said the wrong thing,” DeGeneres said she was told by the Academy. “But we want him to host. Whatever we can do, we want him to host.”
Hart told DeGeneres that he would “evaluate” whether or not he would take on hosting duties.
But Lemon wasn’t here for it: “Apologizing and moving on does not make the world a better place for people who are gay or people who are transgender. Being an ally does.”
The 91st annual Academy Awards will be held on February 24.