Ellen DeGeneres Faces Backlash After Defending Kevin Hart During Interview

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
Kevin Hart on 'Ellen'

Hart's emotional appearance on 'Ellen,' clips of which were released on Thursday night, has divided people on social media.

Ellen DeGeneres' attempts to play peacemaker between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Kevin Hart has engendered a social media backlash.

Hart, who stepped down as Oscars host after the resurfacing of past homophobic tweets, taped an interview with DeGeneres on Thursday that was originally due to air on Monday, but the producers of Ellen deemed it newsworthy enough to shift it to Friday, with clips released on Thursday night.

In the clips, Hart says he is "evaluating" reprising his role as the 2019 Oscars host after DeGeneres called the Academy to vouch for him. "I called them, I said, 'Kevin's on, I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?' And they were like, 'Oh my God, we want him to host! We feel like that maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong. Maybe we said the wrong thing, but we want him to host. Whatever we can do we would be thrilled. And he should host the Oscars.'"

DeGeneres went on to defend Hart against what he said he felt was a malicious social media campaign to derail his career and urged him to rethink his decision on stepping down as Oscars host. "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 realizing how dangerous those words are, not realizing how many kids are killed for being gay or beaten up every day," said DeGeneres.

She added: "You have grown, you have apologized, you are apologizing again right now. You've done it. Don't let those people win — host the Oscars."

The interview clips proved divisive on Twitter, with some feeling that DeGeneres was giving Hart a pass for his homophobic comments.

DeGeneres continued to stand by the interview, writing on Twitter, "In this conversation, @KevinHart4real was authentic and real, and I'm in his corner." She also wrote that she believes in second chances.

She seemingly responded to the backlash in a follow-up tweet on Friday morning. "However you feel about this, the only positive way through it is to talk about it," she wrote. "Thank you for being here, @kevinhart4real."

See some of the backlash to Kevin Hart's interview on Ellen, below.

Jan. 4, 10:17 a.m. Updated with DeGeneres' follow-up tweet.