Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart is no longer considering returning to his hosting duties at the 2019 Oscar Awards. Hart says he would only be a distraction if he hosted the awards in February.

Hart was heavily criticized after he was announced as the 2019 Oscars host. The announcement reignited the controversy over his old anti-ghey comments and tweets in which Hart expressed his disappointment if his son grew up to be ghey.

Following a scathing rebuke from CNN anchorman Don Lemon for his appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, Hart pleaded for understanding on social media.

In an Instagram post, the “Get Hard” star pleaded for the opportunity to learn from his mistakes.

“Basketball players aren’t great until they LEARN how to play the game correctly,” he tweeted. “A news anchor or journalist does not start at the top… they have to LEARN to develop to be great at their job.”

He added:

“When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge. You can’t change without a [sic] understanding of what GROWTH means.”

During Kevin’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she defended the comedian and asked him to reconsider returning as Oscars host. The openly lesbian host also told Hart not to pay attention to “online haters” and told him that “as a gay person” she could appreciate him backing down and submitting to her.

Variety magazine backed up Ellen’s assertion that Academy bosses are open to him being reinstated as host — as long as he has a “meaningful” conversation about his old tweets.

According to CNN anchorman Don Lemon, that “meaningful” conversation didn’t take place on Ellen’s show.

“For many in the gay community, especially in the black community, the Twitter apologies on Ellen have fallen flat,” Lemon said. He accused Kevin of “turning himself into a victim instead of acknowledging the real victims of violent and sometimes deadly homophobia.”

Lemon, 52, added: “That was a joke to Kevin. The truth is, that is a reality for many little boys in the United States. Somewhere a black dad is beating his black son.”

He went on to say how his friend, filmmaker Lee Daniels, was “thrown into a trash can” by his dad for being gay and claimed Hart needed to do more to challenge homophobia [in the Black community] before he could be forgiven for his past remarks.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said she reached out to Hart’s camp multiple times, but she did not get a response.

“Kevin Hart shouldn’t have stepped down; he should have stepped up,” said Ellis. “Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness. We would still welcome that conversation with him.”

However, sources told Deadline that Hart has now changed his mind about taking the job because he feels hosting the Oscars would be a distraction.

Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images