Ellen Degeneres has decided to use her position as America’s favourite lesbian to exonerate Kevin Hart and announce that she’s “in his corner” and feels he should be given a second chance and allowed to host the 2019 Academy Awards.
In their chat, Hart explains his feelings during last month’s drama. He emphasises that he has previously apologised for his tweets, and explains that he didn’t want to address them again because doing so would only add fuel to the fire. He also says that he “doesn’t have a homophobic bone in his body”.
Frankly, it sounds like he’s yet again avoiding taking responsibility for his past views and opinions. If he doesn’t have a “homophobic bone in [his] body”, who wrote those jokes about AIDS and beating his son if he found him playing with dolls? Did a homophobic ghost possess him and force him to write those tweets?
I think it’s great if people can learn from their mistakes and grow as people. It’s not just great, it’s necessary. But Hart’s refusal to acknowledge the harm caused by his jokes, and insistence that he’s already apologised and therefore doesn’t need to do so ever again, doesn’t sound like the spiel of a man who’s learned and grown from his mistakes. It sounds like someone on a PR blitz to save face.
And Ellen’s only too happy to help him do it. She gives him over five minutes of her show to defend himself, and revealed that she called the Academy in an effort to get them to rehire Hart as host.
At this point, the saga is becoming more than a little ridiculous. Is there nobody else who can host the Oscars? Did every other comedian reject the gig? Is that why Ellen is so desperate for Kevin Hart to do it? The man is barely even funny. The majority of his jokes in the Jumanji remake were about his height. Groundbreaking.
I’m happy for Ellen that she’s so willing to play the role of ‘marginalised best friend who weaponises their identity to excuse bad behaviour’, but I don’t remember electing her spokeswoman of the LGBT community.
Part of her appeal for millions of Americans is that she isn’t one of ‘those’ gays, the ones who ‘get offended’ all the time over silly things like jokes about hitting your child and AIDS. Since she isn’t one of ‘those’ gays, why is she trying to speak for them?
Writing for OUT, Tre’vell Anderson explains that Hart needs to address the racial aspect of the conversation, and speak to the black queer community directly; something he can’t do in conversation with Ellen.
“Hart is one of the most recognizable Black faces in pop culture and that’s why he should especially seek forgiveness from Black queer folks in addition to his broader appeals, something DeGeneres can’t grant.”
Anderson also discusses Hart’s refusal to repeatedly apologise, and describes how many people feel about the situation: what’s the harm in apologising again?
Hart repeatedly states that he has already apologised and therefore shouldn’t be expected to do so again. That isn’t how making amends works – you don’t just get to dash off a one-size-fits-all apology and hope it reaches the right people. It’s an ongoing process. You might have to apologise more than once. Doing so shouldn’t be like pulling teeth.
According to Variety, key people involved in making the Oscars happen are open to letting Hart host if he signals he wants the job again. I would implore the Academy to find someone who is actually funny to host instead, but I’m not anywhere near as influential as Ellen, so I doubt they’ll listen to me. Maybe Holland Taylor or Lily Tomlin can have a word with them.