Parts of the Kevin Hart – Ellen interview have officially hit the web, and we feel like instead of resolving any controversy, they’ve only added to it.
As you can see below, the conversation that unfolded between Hart and Ellen DeGeneres was one themed largely around him, at one point, being set to host the Oscars. The two spoke about how it’s been Kevin’s dream for years to do it, and how much of his initial joy soon faded because of a backlash that stemmed from tweets and comments that he made years before. He was accused of being homophobic and rather than getting out in front of the controversy and handling it right away, he instead was defiant. That defiance seemed to escalate the situation, which in turn led to him pulling out of the gig.
In this interview today, Hart notes repeatedly that one of the reasons why he did not want to immediately apologize for what he said and did was because he already had in the past, and he did not want to contribute, effectively, even more fuel to the fire. The problem that Hart seems to be making here is misunderstanding the role of media and instant reactions to controversy. Could it be tiring to have to repeatedly apologize for something you’ve already said “I’m sorry” for? Maybe, but look at things in this sense — there may be many people out there unaware of what you said already because it was years ago and much of that is buried in a sea of other content at this point. Also, an apology for you may not equate to one that other people may accept. You have to think in these situations in an empathetic way. Something more heartfelt and pointed towards this particular moment could have meant a lot towards those who were feeling hurt.
Had Hart gotten more out in front of this controversy and said something that was sincere, is it possible that he’d still have the Oscars gig? Would the backlash had continued? It’s something we do still wonder.
The backlash towards Ellen
Here is another interesting component of everything right now. She faced some blowback going into the interview for having him on, but that’s led to some who now feel as though she is speaking as a de-facto representation of the LGBTQ community. It’s one thing for her to forgive him and want him to get the Oscars hosting gig back, but are other people going to do that? This is something else entirely. The Oscars itself is a show with a heavy LGBTQ audience and if you’re the Academy, you don’t want to alienate that audience. The same goes for Ellen herself.
We do know this about the Oscars — they are looking for a host who will bring in viewers who wouldn’t watch otherwise, since they assume that they will have their core viewers no matter what. Is that actually the case with Hart? If he is brought back, we could find out.
What do you think about both Hart’s interview and the reaction to it? Share in the comments. (Photo: Ellen.)