Ellen DeGeneres faces backlash for 'defending' Kevin Hart following homophobia furore

Ellen DeGeneres brought forward the air date for an ‘incredible and honest’ interview with comedian and ex-Oscars host Kevin Hart, which has just aired the US.

Tweeting last night, she said: “I had an incredible and honest conversation with @KevinHart4real about hosting the #Oscars. It was supposed to air on Monday. I don’t want you to have to wait, so now it’s gonna air tomorrow.”

But she may wish that she hadn’t.

Hart withdrew from the job of hosting the 91st Oscars in December, less than 48 hours after being announced, after facing fierce criticism when old footage of him performing a homophobic skit about hoping his son never grows up to be gay was re-posted online.

Now the talk show host is facing her own backlash for defending him during the interview, in which she encourages him to take up the presenting slot again.

Kevin Hart and Ellen (Credit: Instagram/kevinhart4real)
Kevin Hart and Ellen (Credit: Instagram/kevinhart4real)

“As a gay person. I am sensitive to all of that. You’ve already expressed that it’s not being educated on the subject, not realising how dangerous those words are, not realising how many kids are killed for being gay or beaten up every day,” says DeGeneres.

“You have grown, you have apologised, you are apologising again right now. You’ve done it. Don’t let those people win — host the Oscars.”

But many are angry that she appears to have let Hart off the hook, despite the homophobic gags, which were made during a comedy special made in 2010.

In the interview Hart says that he’s previously apologised for the comments, and that’s not who he is anymore, but as a result, the backlash against him took the shine off the Oscars job.

He also says that now that DeGeneres has backed him, he’s ‘evaluating’ taking up the job again.

It’s not gone down well.

In the skit, he says: “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.”

The joke then develops further about him being horrified when his three-year-old son has a ‘gay moment’ with another boy at a party.

He’s apologised since the jokes, telling Rolling Stone in 2015 that it spoke of his ‘own insecurities’ and that he ‘wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now’.

The ceremony, which is currently without a host, happens on 25 February.

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