If there’s anywhere in America that believes in second chances, it’s Hollywood.
Just last month, stand-up comedian and actor Kevin Hart gave up his hosting gig at the upcoming Academy Awards, following an angry backlash to his derogatory tweets and jokes about gay people.
Now, as the night of the awards show is creeping closer, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has yet to pick Hart's replacement, none other than talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is calling for him to take the job back.
Hart sat down for an hour-long interview on Friday’s episode of Ellen, as the host revealed that Hart called to speak with her about the controversy as it was happening last month. DeGeneres also explained that she called the Academy on Hart’s behalf and asked them to take him back.
"I know you’re not that guy," DeGeneres told Hart, "because I know you." She also told Hart that his online "haters" would "win if you don’t host the Oscars. Then they win!"
"You have grown. You have apologized. You are apologizing again right now. You've done it. Don’t let those people win. Host the Oscars."
Hart also addressed his response to the controversy, explaining that he chose to ignore the criticism at first because "it’s 10 years old."
"This is stuff I’ve addressed," Hart said. "I’ve talked about this. This isn’t new. I’ve addressed it! I’ve apologized for it. I’m not going to pay it any mind."
While the comedian said he would consider hosting the show, and DeGeneres claims the Academy was open to inviting him back, Hart avoided making a decision one way or the other during the episode.
But a source that spoke to People backed up DeGeneres' claims, saying the Academy wants Hart to take the job back. "The Academy never really axed him - they wanted him to apologize - he wouldn’t, and then he was the one to drop out," the source was quoted as saying.
I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's....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.— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
Soon after Hart was announced as the Oscars host last month, social media users dredged up tweets and jokes by the comedian they called offensive to gay people. Hart went on to quit the job just two days after he was announced as the show’s host.
In his 2010 comedy special Seriously Funny, Hart said it was his "biggest fear" that his son could be gay.
"Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic. I have nothing against gay people. Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, as a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will," Hart said.
Hart later revealed that the Academy gave him an ultimatum: apologize for his jokes or lose his job as the Oscars host. Instead, the comedian chose to apologize as he stepped away from the show.
"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's," Hart tweeted.
"This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists."