Kevin Hart has pleaded for understanding after his mooted return as Oscars host reignited the controversy about his past homophobic comments.
The 39-year-old funnyman appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday (04Jan19) and chatted about his decision to quit the prestigious role due to criticism of his past tweets and routines mocking gay people.
Ellen revealed she had spoken to Academy bosses and asked Kevin if he would consider returning to host, a conversation that sparked a backlash from members of the gay community, including top U.S. newsman Don Lemon, who said the star had failed to atone sufficiently for his past remarks.
In an Instagram post, the Get Hard star asked for the opportunity to learn from his comments and emphasised the importance of “growth” from past mistakes.
“Basketball players aren’t great until they LEARN how to play the game correctly,” he wrote, and listed other occupations, including chief executives and doctors, who have to learn before they become good at their jobs.
Closing with an apparent reference to Don’s criticism, Kevin wrote: “A news anchor or journalist does not start at the top…they have to LEARN to develop to be great at their job.”
In the caption, he added, “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. You can’t change without a (sic) understanding of what GROWTH means.”
A report in Variety backed up Ellen’s assertion Academy chiefs are open to the star being reinstated as host, but that he had to have a “meaningful” conversation about his old tweets.
However, sources told Deadline that Kevin has now ruled himself out of the job a he feels his leading the Oscars ceremony would be a distraction.