Today, The Ellen DeGeneres Show will air the first interview with Kevin Hart since he was announced (and then stepped down) as Oscars host.
In the first video clips of the interview, Hart details the range of emotions he felt in the short time between the announcement of his hosting gig and the fallout from old homophobic jokes that had surfaced just days later.
Explaining his remorse and personal growth over the past decade, Hart insists that he's grown as a comedian, and understands that his words were hurtful. While he addressed the jokes in the past, he says he chose not to embrace another opportunity for apology to avoid feeding internet trolls.
In the clips of the interview that have been released prior to the episode (that you can and should watch here), Ellen defends her friend, admitting she believes Hart knows how harmful those words can be, especially to LGBT kids. She also endorsed his return to the hosting gig, and lobbied the Academy to bring him back (something he seemed open to).
This isn't black and white. I wish it was. Even after watching these video clips, I'm conflicted. I appreciate that this is an honest conversation about the growing trend of internet outrage, and searching for a silver bullet to end a celebrity's career. I also believe that people (entertainers included) will always make mistakes as they try to navigate what's funny and what isn't, and I'm glad to hear an LGBT icon like Ellen endorse Hart as a changed man. But the stuff that came out was roughhhhhh. And an additional "hey, sorry, my bad, I don't talk like that anymore, I get it now" could have probably prevented all of this - and certainly would have been warranted. Should he get a pass from having to answer that tough question ("Would it have been that difficult to apologize again?") because he's Ellen's friend?
*person shrugging emoji*