Let Kevin Hart host the Oscars

On Thursday evening, comedian Ellen DeGeneres said Kevin Hart should get to host the Oscars this year after ...

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 5:56 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 5:56 PM

On Thursday evening, comedian Ellen DeGeneres said Kevin Hart should get to host the Oscars this year after all. Hart gave up the role in December after homophobic tweets from nearly a decade ago resurfaced. Now, DeGeneres -- a prominent member of the gay community herself -- says she has called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts of Sciences, and they would be happy for Hart to return. "I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances. And I believe in @KevinHart4real," DeGeneres tweeted.

DeGeneres is right: Hart should host the Oscars this year. Here's why.

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In clips from his upcoming interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Hart says he understands why his past posts were hurtful and people were upset. "I don't joke like that anymore because that was wrong," he says. "That was a guy that was just looking for laughs, and that was stupid. I don't do that anymore."

As a society, it's important for us to forgive people for hateful comments they made in the past if they have truly repented and changed their views. After all, we want people to learn and grow. By contrast, if people who have made homophobic (or racist or sexist or other bigoted) comments are never allowed to apologize and be accepted back into mainstream society, they would be incentivized to become even more hateful so that they can find support and community among extremist groups That would be terrible for the gay community.

Allowing Hart to host would send a message to others who have made disparaging and bigoted remarks in the past that it's possible for them to become more informed and tolerant -- and that Americans will embrace them for doing so. That would be an incredibly powerful example and could cause others to renounce hate, too.

But Hart and DeGeneres are wrong about one thing. In his interview with DeGeneres, Hart said people had gone through 40,000 of his tweets to find the inappropriate ones, calling the recirculation of his past posts "a malicious attack on my character." DeGeneres said that, if he doesn't host, the trolls who found the offensive tweets are "going to win."

That's not true. We're all responsible for everything we say and do -- including, of course, our own social media posts. Saying that something is old isn't a valid excuse. But, if someone has truly evolved in their thinking and is remorseful, they should be able to disavow statements they regret from the past. This appears to be the case for Hart.

Hart has already apologized. But, if he hosts the Oscars, he would need to open the ceremony by doing so again and renouncing his past comments. This could give the event a great theme: The need for Americans to accept people who are different -- and people who have erred in the past.

That would send an important message across the country. Interest in the controversy could also be great for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and draw more viewers. Last year's ceremony, which was widely described as boring, had a viewership of only about 26.5 million people -- the lowest number in a decade.

Having Hart as host would be great for America -- and the academy. Here's hoping the producers are enlightened enough to cast him back in the role.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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CountyCasesDeaths
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1108146

Reported Deaths: 20122
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1286421460
Cuyahoga1157382208
Hamilton813551248
Montgomery525311041
Summit48395999
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Butler38951604
Stark33318929
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Licking16660222
Fairfield16570204
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Greene15272247
Clark14233306
Wood13287198
Portage13242214
Allen11910239
Richland11601211
Miami10843224
Wayne9130222
Columbiana9029230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8658122
Tuscarawas8643248
Marion8641138
Erie8056164
Ashtabula7147179
Hancock6996132
Ross6943161
Geauga6834150
Scioto6534105
Belmont6155174
Union584549
Lawrence5726102
Jefferson5675158
Huron5544122
Sandusky5439125
Darke5415129
Seneca5347126
Washington5318109
Athens523660
Auglaize501887
Mercer487385
Shelby476595
Knox4570112
Madison444065
Ashland435597
Putnam4336103
Defiance432298
Fulton432072
Crawford4036110
Brown402461
Logan387577
Preble3848104
Clinton379166
Ottawa373581
Highland359665
Williams348078
Champaign344258
Guernsey324853
Jackson318154
Perry297350
Morrow291840
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Henry273367
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Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240750
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll197148
Paulding176542
Meigs148240
Monroe136344
Noble136039
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
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