Ellen DeGeneres defends Kevin Hart, tries to win him back Oscars hosting gig

DeGeneres said that she believes Hart is ultimately contrite, and that as a member of the LGBTQ community, she understands that he was coming from an uneducated place.

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By Erik Ortiz

Ellen DeGeneres revealed to Kevin Hart that she not only wants him to ignore the "haters" and host next month's Oscars, but went as far as contacting the motion picture academy herself to help him win back the job.

Hart stepped down from the gig in December in the wake of backlash for homophobic tweets he wrote nearly a decade ago that resurfaced online.

In an interview with Hart set to air on her daytime talk show Friday, DeGeneres said she told the Academy, "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 or maybe we said the wrong thing but we want him to host. Whatever we can do we would be thrilled.'"

DeGeneres, herself a two-time host of the Academy Awards, went on to say that if Hart was the ceremony's emcee, he would bring "sophistication, class, hilarity and you growing as a person."

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which runs the Academy Awards, did not immediately respond to NBC News for comment about who would host.

But Hart told DeGeneres he would reevaluate whether he would take the job again and that she "put a lot of things on my mind."

While the "Night School" star noted he was sorry for his past tweets, he also explained why he had to defend himself last month — alluding to an Instagram post in which he told people to "stop looking for reasons to be negative." The post stoked further outrage.

But Hart told DeGeneres that he didn't think the resurfacing of the older tweets was an accident.

"To go back through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008, that's an attack, that's a malicious attack on my character, that's an attack to end me," Hart said. "That's not an attack to just stop the Oscars."

In his past tweets, Hart wrote that he wouldn't want his son playing with his daughter's dollhouse — "I'm going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice 'stop that's gay'" — and in another said someone resembled a "gay bill board for AIDS."

DeGeneres said that she believes Hart is ultimately contrite, and that as a member of the LGBTQ community, she understands that he was coming from an uneducated place.

The preview of the interview, however, has been criticized by some social media users who think DeGeneres is giving Hart a pass and took offense that she referred to those who spoke out against him as "haters."

But DeGeneres said: "Don't let those people win — host the Oscars."

The award show will be held on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. ET and airs on ABC.