The 60-year-old TV host invited Kevin Hart onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, where he opened up about stepping down as this year's Oscars host after controversial tweets were resurfaced from nearly a decade ago. But after listening to the comedian explain his decision and surprisingly defending him, DeGeneres seemed to be the one in the hot seat.
Viewers took to social media, writing things like, "Ellen giving homophobes the ability to say 'but Ellen said it’s OK' is a massive f**king betrayal," "Hi Ellen. I think you’re a cool lady. Have for a while now. But this? This ain’t it," and "Imagine having the clout that Ellen DeGeneres has and wasting it on Kevin Hart instead of say, a queer comedian and/or a woman of color."
As the negative comments started to flood her mentions, DeGeneres seemingly responded to the haters. "However you feel about this, the only positive way through it is to talk about it," she tweeted. "Thank you for being here, @KevinHart4real."
In case you missed it, DeGeneres informed Hart that she spoke with the Academy ahead of his appearance on the show to ask if they’d take him back as host.
"I called them," she confirmed. "I said, 'Kevin’s on, I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?' They were like, 'Oh my god, we want him to host. We feel like maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong or maybe he said the wrong thing, but we want him to host. Whatever we can do we would be thrilled. And he should host the Oscars.'"
"[The trolls are] going to win if you don't host the Oscars,” she continued. "You can’t let them destroy you and they can’t destroy you because you have too much talent. No one can do that. For them to stop you from your dream, from what you wanted to do and what you have a right to do, what you should be doing. It’s why they haven’t found another host. I think they were secretly hoping that you would come back."
DeGeneres also specifically addressed Hart's homophobic tweets, telling the actor, "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," she explained. "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."