The show’s not over. Well...possibly.
Kevin Hart, he of the firm stance against true atonement, recently appeared on Ellen Degeneres’ talk show to thoroughly discuss the grand opening/grand closing of his Oscars hosting gig on national television for the first time.
It bears repeating: Kevin Hart was about to secure yet another bag in his cornucopia of clutches and instead of issuing another apology at the Academy’s request, he declined and decided to step down from hosting the 91st Academy Awards.
However, on Friday’s episode of Ellen, he decided to sit down with arguably the most influential person in whitey mcwhite mainstream media and untangle the public-relations nightmare he singlehandedly weaved.
After introducing Hart as “this year’s Oscar host,” Ellen assured that he had her full support after private talks with him, confirming he had apologized then and apologized now. As such, she revealed she reached out to the Academy.
“I called [the Academy], 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,’” she noted.
Following Hart’s decision to step down, the Academy reportedly had a hard time finding another host to take his place. Since then, there have been rumors circulating that the organization may go host-less for the ceremony in February.
After ranting about his reasonings behind it (summary: it’s about the “attack” on his character via trolls), the 39-year-old actor confirmed he’ll marinate on it.
“This is a conversation I needed to have, I’m glad that I had it here, and I’m glad that it was as authentic and real as I could have hoped that it would be,” Kevin said. “So let me assess, just to sit in this space and really think, and you and I will talk before anything else.”
A source close to the comedic actor told People that Hart is “making the rounds,” to publicly atone for his past transgressions and is expected to appear on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert next.
“It all hinges on how well he does these apologies,” confirmed the source. “In the end, if the shows are good, it’s pretty much his to take again, if he wants it.”
“This is bigger than the Oscars,” Hart said. He’s right; it is. Which is why the focus shouldn’t be on the trolls. Look, I’m sure they exist. There are people out there strategically awaiting one’s downfall. But, it’s not about them. It’s about the little boys and girls who identify with that hypothetical situation involving a thrash to the head because they’re gay. For them and for many people of the LGBTQ community, it’s just not a hypothetical tweet or a harmless joke—it’s real.
“As a gay person, I am sensitive to all of that,” Ellen told Kevin. “You’ve already expressed that it’s not being educated on the subject, not realizing how dangerous those words are, not realizing how many kids are killed for being gay or beaten up every day. You have grown, you have apologized, you are apologizing again right now. You’re done it.”
Now, we all know specifically appearing on Ellen’s show was a major PR move. However, there’s a valid argument here that while any decision of forgiveness should be left to those who were targeted with the offense, Ellen does not represent everyone in the LGBTQ community as a white gay woman. Intersection exists for a reason and needs to be accounted for. She forgives him, but that doesn’t mean anyone else has to. Again, true atonement cannot be brushed away with a single stroke. It cannot be shined up pretty like an Oscar statuette and everything is all good and dandy. This shall be an ongoing conversation and if Kevin has sense, he’ll be open to having it (and doing the work) even if it makes him uncomfortable.
As we know, the Academy Awards ceremony is usually filled with winners. We’ll see if Kevin Hart ends up “winning” here...and in the long run.
The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24.