Kevin Hart is no longer considering reclaiming 2019 Acadamy Award hosting duties despite a late attempt by Ellen DeGeneres to intervene following the fallout from his resurfaced homophobic tweets.
DeGeneres has received backlash since her interview this week with Hart, 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.
And although Hart did not commit to anything during the interview, he said he would “evaluate” his options.
Now Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. is reporting that Hart is standing by his decision to not host the ceremony.
“Ultimately, Hart felt his hosting would become a distraction, a continuing controversial narrative that would take the spotlight off the people and movies being honored,” Fleming reports. “He also grew concerned at the limited amount of time he would have had to prepare. Both are legitimate concerns. After the ensuing parade of blowhard polemic articles following Hart’s Ellen appearance, who can blame him?”
The comedian stepped down last year 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.”
Some of the backlash towards his interview with DeGeneres came from CNN’s Don Lemon, who used his show to criticize Hart’s apologies and urge him to become a better ally.
“We have to stop low-key co-signing homophobia. It’s not cool,” Lemon said. “We won’t tolerate jokes that do otherwise.”