Actor and comedian Kevin Hart said he would re-evaluate his decision to step down as host of the 2019 Oscars after having a "raw/honest" interview with Ellen DeGeneres, who reached out to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on his behalf.
Hart chose to step down in December after homophobic posts from nearly a decade ago resurfaced on social media, sparking calls for him to either apologize or resign.
In an interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" set to air Friday, Hart said he doesn't have a "homophobic bone" in his body and claimed he had apologized for the comments in the past, according to preview clips posted by the show.
He said he refused to apologize again because it would provide fodder for his critics.
"It's tough for me because it was an attack, a malicious attack on my character, to end me," Hart said in in the interview. "Leaving here, I promise you I'm evaluating this conversation. Let me assess, just sit in the space and really think, and you and I will talk before anything else."
DeGeneres, who hosted the ceremony in the past, said Hart shouldn't let critics get in the way of his dream of hosting the awards.
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I stopped by @theellenshow to do some promo for my new movie "The Upside" & ended up staying on for the entire hour. Trust me when I tell you that you won't want to miss tomorrows episode. This was by far the most raw/honest & authentic interview that I have ever done. We talk about the Oscar controversy in depth. Make sure you tune in!!!!!
"They're gonna win if you don't host the Oscars," DeGeneres said, referring to "trolls" online. "You can’t let them destroy you and they can't destroy you because you have too much talent.
"That's why they [The Academy] haven’t found another host. I think they were secretly hoping that you would come back,” she added.
DeGeneres said she called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Thursday to ask if Hart would be allowed to host this year's Oscars ceremony if he reversed his decision to step down.
"They were like, 'Oh my God! We want him to host ... whatever we can do, we would be thrilled, and he should host the Oscars," she said, recalling the Academy's reaction. "The Academy is saying, 'What can we do to make this happen?'"
In an Instagram post promoting his appearance on the show, Hart said the interview was "the most raw/honest" appearance he'd ever done.
"I stopped by @theellenshow to do some promo for my new movie "The Upside" & ended up staying on for the entire hour. Trust me when I tell you that you won't want to miss tomorrows episode," he wrote. "This was by far the most raw/honest & authentic interview that I have ever done. We talk about the Oscar controversy in depth. Make sure you tune in!!!!!"