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Ellen DeGeneres’ support for Kevin Hart sparks debate in LGBTQ community

DeGeneres advocated for Hart in their interview, and told him that she called the film academy to see if it would be willing to have him back to emcee the February 24 ceremony.

Ellen DeGeneres during her interview with Kevin Hart.

Ellen DeGeneres during her interview with Kevin Hart.Credit:NBC

“There are so many haters out there,” DeGeneres said. “Whatever is going on on the internet, don’t pay attention to them. That’s a small group of people being very, very loud. We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars.”

But that sentiment was far from universal.

“This is a trial balloon,” wrote Vulture‘s Mark Harris. “Let’s see if ‘the mob’ has quieted down enough to put Hart right back in the gig he wants. It represents contempt for any kind of public outcry as dumb noise that you just have to ride out. It’s meant to minimise real distress from non-famous LGBT folk.

“It’s a shame that DeGeneres has decided to serve as the instrument of that kind of perpetually embattled Hollywood bubble thinking,” Harris went on. “So, as a member of the ‘mob,’ I guess, I still say what I said before: Find another host this year.”

Hart seemed appreciative of DeGeneres’ defense but argued that “there’s a flip side” to the attack.

“On my side, openly I say I’m wrong for my past words. I say it. I said it. I understand that. I know that,” he said. “In this case it’s tough for me because it was an attack. This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t a coincidence that the day after I received the job that tweets just somehow manifested from 2008.”

The prolific actor told DeGeneres that this was his first time in the line of fire and felt that the motivation was to destroy him, end all his partnerships, brand relationships, investment opportunities and his production company, as well as those who work for him.

“This is to damage the lives that have been invested in me,” he asserted. “It’s bigger than just the Oscars. It’s about the individuals that are out there now that are finding success in damaging your ‘celebrity.'”

But DeGeneres repeatedly encouraged him “to take a stand against the trolls” who would win if he didn’t host the ceremony, saying that he was too talented and that it was his right to host.

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“As I said to you earlier, it’s perfect that all this happened because there has to be a conversation about homophobia,” DeGeneres said. “And it brought up you reminding people that you’re a bigger person and that you’ve already apologised. You’re apologising again.

“As a gay person,” she added, “I am as sensitive to all of that. And I’ve talked to you about all of this. It’s not being educated on the subject… you have grown, you have apologised again right now. You’ve done it. Don’t let those people win. Host the Oscars.”

Following his appearance on the show, Hart took to Instagram with a message pleading for understanding from his detractors.

“When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge,” the comedian wrote.

However, Deadline reports he has again reconsidered taking on the job in the wake of the ensuing controversy.

“Hart felt his hosting would become a distraction… He also grew concerned at the limited amount of time he would have had to prepare,” the publication stated, citing multiple sources within the Academy.

“The Academy will continue on its course towards a telecast without a single host, and instead will enlist some of the biggest names… to present awards,” Deadline added.

Los Angeles Times, with staff writers

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