Ellen DeGeneres Sparks Backlash After Defending Kevin Hart for 2019 Oscars

Amid a 2019 Oscars hosting controversy, the comedian spoke out on the famous host's Friday show.

By Samantha Schnurr Jan 04, 2019 2:40 PMTags
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"There are so many haters out there. Whatever is going on the internet, don't pay attention to them. That's a small group of people being very, very loud," Ellen DeGeneres told Kevin Hart on Friday's episode of her eponymous show. However, some of those critics are not happy with her, either. 

Almost a month since the comedian announced he was stepping down from hosting the 2019 Oscars after his past homophobic tweets and comments resurfaced, Hart appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he spoke at length about his decision. After six minutes of having the floor, the show went to a commercial break. When it returned, DeGeneres weighed in, revealing that she contacted the Academy in support of Hart. 

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"I called The Academy today, because I really want you to host the Oscars. I was so excited when I heard that they asked you. I thought it was an amazing thing. I knew how important it was and how it was a dream. So, I called them. I said, 'Kevin's on. I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?' And they were like, 'Oh my, God! We want him to host. We feel like that maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong or maybe we said the wrong thing, but we want him to host. Whatever we can do, we would be thrilled and he should host the Oscars.' The Academy is saying, 'What can we do to make this happen?' And I'm saying to you, as one of the smartest people I know, one of the funniest people I know...what we're going to get to see onstage with you hosting the Oscars is sophistication, class, hilarity and you growing as a person. Because most people would say, 'I'm walking away. I'm not coming back," she said. 

"But for you to be the bigger man, for you to say, 'I understand,' and to not pay attention. There are so many haters out there. Whatever is going on in the internet, don't pay attention to them. That's a small group of people being very, very loud," she continued. "We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars."

The clips of the interview were released online, sparking mixed responses to what was said and what should happen moving forward. Among the reactions were criticisms of DeGeneres, with some taking issues with her defense of him and giving him a public platform. 

"Hi Ellen. I think you're a cool lady. Have for a while now. But this? This ain't it. Kevin's attacks were geared towards Black gay men. That being said, you have no authority to forgive him on behalf of a section of the community you don't belong to," one person tweeted. 

"Godda--it Ellen. What are you doing," another Twitter user retorted. 

BuzzFeed reporter Adam Vary responded in a thread, "(1) First, the people who brought up Kevin Hart's past tweets — like me — were not, as Ellen characterized, 'haters.' The host of the Oscars had made anti-gay jokes, and LGBT people who love the Oscars were legitimately startled to see just how harsh his words were. It wasn't a...(2) …mob of people out to get Kevin Hart. It was a group of people who wanted to understand Hart's thinking about those hurtful tweets & his stand-up jokes."

Vary later added, "(6) Finally, it's depressing that Ellen's enthusiasm for Hart hosting the Oscars — and he would've been a good host! — led her to contribute to a narrative that Hart is the victim of "haters" & 'trolls' out to 'destroy' him, & if he doesn't host the Oscars, they'll 'win.'"

"I am so pissed about this," another viewer commented. "And Ellen amplifying it only makes it sting more."

There were also many viewers who praised DeGeneres, thanked her for the interview and announced their acceptance of Hart. 

"Love you, Ellen!" one person wrote. "Thank you for being an example of forgiveness. Love will always win. Even if it takes a while. I am a hold-out with you. I do think, in a span of 10 years, one can evolve to be a beautiful person, and I do believe Mr. Hart's heart evolved." 

Still, there were some who were not on board with Hart and not convinced by his apology. "When someone makes a severe mistake, and it's documented, that person has to address it more than once," another critic tweeted. "Over a lifetime. That is how the world works. There will be generations of LGBT people who will see those tweets for the 1st time and you don't get to tell them 'get over it.'"