Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is campaigning hard for Kevin Hart to take back his spot hosting this year’s Oscars, going so far as to call someone at the Academy to lobby for him.
Kevin Hart stepped down last month from hosting after tweets from 2009-2011 resurfaced with derogatory language referring to gay people and disparaging comments about sexuality.
DeGeneres, who moved up the release of an interview with Hart to Friday, urged him to reconsider hosting the Oscars, saying she had contacted someone, whom she did not identify, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and that they were still interested in him doing so.
At the end of the hour, Hart said, “You have put a lot of things on my mind,” promising that he was “evaluating this conversation.”
Earlier in the show, Hart explained that he backed out of the gig after he was given “an ultimatum.”
“‘Kevin, apologize, or we’re going to have to find another host,'” he said he was told.
The comic said he chose to “walk away” rather than be a distraction to the event.
He also labeled the process of looking through his roughly 40,000 old tweets an attempt to “damage” him — “a malicious attack on my character. That’s an attack to end me.”
DeGeneres didn’t dispute those assertions but said she viewed the opportunity to host as a chance to model growth and stand up to against “trolls.