Ellen DeGeneres promised us an “incredible” and “honest” interview with Kevin Hart about hosting the 2019 Oscars, and she didn’t disappoint. Kevin, who gave up the offer from the Academy in December after homophobic tweets from 2011 resurfaced, didn’t shy away from the touchy subject as he reflected on the backlash during his Jan. 4 appearance on Ellen’s show. Kevin explained that he didn’t address the old tweets at first because he had already apologized for them after he first wrote them, but when media headlines started becoming about his “refusal” to apology, he knew he had to step down.
“It’s now becoming a cloud,” he explained. “It was once the brightest star and the brightest light ever, and it just got real dark. The Oscars is no longer about Kevin Hart on that stage and taking an intense night and making it loose and fun. Now, it’s a little darker, because the conversation isn’t about me hosting the Oscars, it’s about Kevin Hart’s tweet from ten years ago and homophobia. I don’t want to make that night about me and my past when you have people who worked hard and stepped on that stage and received an award. I’m taking away from those moments because the night is focused on something else now. Because I saw it like that, I would much rather step down and apologize again.”
Kevin and Ellen are longtime friends, and she was completely understanding of his apology and reasoning. However, she also told him she’s disappointed he’s no longer hosting the show, and revealed that he called the Academy to ask them if they’d still have him. “I said…Kevin’s on, and I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?” she revealed. “They were like…oh my God, we want him to host! We think maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong, but we want him to host, so whatever you can do, we’d be thrilled.”
Us premieres March 15.