LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) – Comedian Kevin Hart says he’s “evaluating” whether to host the Academy Awards after stepping down from the gig following the reaction to homophobic comments he made several years ago.
In an appearance on the “Ellen” show set to air on Friday, Ellen DeGeneres – who herself hosted in 2014 — revealed to Hart that she called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week to ask the organization if it would consider bringing him back to host.
“I called the Academy today, because I really want you to host the Oscars,” said DeGeneres, in a clip released on the show’s website. “I was so excited when I heard that they asked you. I thought it was an amazing thing, I knew how important it was.”
On Dec. 4, Hart announced he would be hosting the Oscars. However, just two days later, Hart stepped down after anti-gay tweets, mostly dated from 2009-2011, surfaced.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s,” Hart 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.”
The Academy has not named a replacement since Hart stepped down.
“I called them,” DeGeneres told Hart. “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 could do, we would be thrilled, but he should host the Oscars.'”
In response, Hart reiterated his belief that he believes the old tweets, which he had deleted, were resurfaced by “trolls” who seek to attack him and his character.
“It wasn’t a coincidence that the day after I received the job, that tweets just somehow manifested from 2008,” Hart told DeGeneres.
“On my side, openly, I say, I’m wrong for my past words. I say it, I said it, I understand it,” he added.
“They’re (the trolls) gonna win if you don’t host the Oscars,” DeGeneres responded.
“Leaving here, I’m promising you, I’m evaluating this conversation,” Hart told DeGeneres. “This is a conversation I needed to have, I’m glad that I had it here. And I’m glad that it’s authentic and real as I could have hoped that it would be. So let me assess, just to sit in the space and really think. And you and I will talk before anything else.”
It’s not the first time an Oscars host has been potentially derailed by anti-gay remarks. Ahead of the 2012 Academy Awards, producer Brett Ratner, who had been paired with host Eddie Murphy, resigned days after using a gay slur at a film screening. Murphy soon after exited, as well.