In an interview conducted mere hours before his appearance on “Ellen” Friday, Kevin Hart revealed he’ll never host the Oscars, even if the opportunity presents itself again.
“Would I ever do it? No, it’s done. It’s done,” the 39-year-old comedian told Variety‘s “Playback” podcast. Hart accepted the gig only to rescind after his past homophobic tweets and jokes resurfaced, leading to a major backlash against the “Jumanji” star.
“The moment came and it was a blessing and I was excited at the opportunity and I still am. In my mind I got the job, it was a dream job, and things came up that simply prohibited it from happening. But I don’t believe in going backwards,” he admitted. “I stepped down because I’m not going to allow this to tarnish an amazing night for the other actors and actresses that are going to be on stage that night,” Hart said. “It shouldn’t be about Kevin Hart and his tweets of old. And I’ll state it again, to anybody I’ve hurt, I’m sorry.”
In the hours following the interview with Variety, Hart seemed to have a change of heart and was reconsidering his decision to back out when Ellen DeGeneres – herself a two-time Oscars host – revealed she had been in touch with the Academy to lobby for Hart’s return.
Initially, Hart refused to apologize for his past material before eventually stepping down from the hosting job. During his Variety interview, Hart blasted online trolls for digging up the material and refusing to accept that his views have changed in the years since.
“The manipulation of headlines is what was amazing when this whole thing hit,” he added. “It was, ‘Kevin Hart steps down because he refuses to apologize for homophobic tweets.’ This was what was said and it was blasted all over the Internet, and the word ‘again’ somehow got lost, which was a major word. I’ve addressed this several times.”
Hart has maintained that he has apologized several times for his homophobic jokes and statements, though the Internet has come up empty-handed when searching for previous apologies from the comedian.
“Where I was at that point – an immature comic. It’s 2008, 2009, I’m figuring it out. I’m just now getting there … Within a 10-year span of my career you don’t see any blemishes. You don’t see any signs of me going back to that young comedian that I was then that was looking for an ignorant laugh,” he explained.
Despite recent events, the “Night School” actor said he harbours no “ill will” toward the Academy but he’ll never grace the stage as the ceremony host.
“When I go on that stage, it will be because I’ve somehow figured out a way to win the Oscar,” Hart said. “Somehow I’ll get to the stage but it’s not going to be in this way because it just comes with such a weird cloud at this point.”
However, an insider tells Variety the Academy and ABC, the network behind the broadcast are open to having Hart resume his role as host, should he indicate he’s willing to return. According to the source, the comedian can let them know via “a spokesperson or on social media.”
Neither the Academy nor ABC have made an official comment on Hart’s potential return.
The Academy has yet to announce a new host for the ceremony on February 24.
Kevin Hart chatted with Michael Strahan this morning on “Good Morning America” and says he will not host and is not addressing the controversy again: “I’m not giving no more explanation of who I am. I’m just done.”
Watch the full interview below: