Ellen DeGeneres still wants Kevin Hart to host the Oscars

Prodded by Ellen DeGeneres, comic Kevin Hart says he'll reconsider his decision to step down as host of the Oscars.

Hart, who was on The Ellen Show to promote The Upside, said, 'I'm evaluating this conversation'

Two days after he was named as Oscars host last month, comedian Kevin Hart backed off when some of his homophobic tweets from a decade ago resurfaced. (Jordan Strauss, File/Invision via AP)

Prodded by Ellen DeGeneres, comic Kevin Hart says he'll reconsider his decision to step down as host of the Oscars.

Two days after he was named as host last month, Hart backed off when some of his homophobic tweets from a decade ago resurfaced.

But DeGeneres, in a taped interview with Hart on The Ellen Show airing Friday, urged him to go back, saying he's apologized for his remarks and grown from the experience.

If there's a campaign to get him back, it couldn't have started more slickly: on the hugely successful talk show run by one of Hollywood's most prominent gay celebrities, who hosted the Oscars herself in 2007.

DeGeneres told Hart she phoned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because she wants him to host the 91st Oscars.

"I said, 'Kevin's on. I have no idea if he wants to come back and host but what are your thoughts?'" DeGeneres said. "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, and he should host the Oscars.'"

Hart, who was on the talk show to promote his new movie, The Upside, said, "I'm evaluating this conversation. This is a conversation I needed to have. I'm glad that I had it here, and I'm glad that it was as authentic and real as I could have hoped that it would be. So let me assess, just to sit in this space and really think. And you and I will talk before anything else."

His homophobic remarks

Hart wrote homophobic remarks on Twitter mostly between 2009-2011, including one where he said: "Yo if my son comes home & try's 2 play with my daughters doll house I'm going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice 'stop that's gay."' It was later deleted. He has also made anti-gay comments in his standup in the past.

Hart told DeGeneres that when his old messages resurfaced, "what was once the brightest light ever just got real dark." He initially said he wouldn't apologize because he had addressed the issue several times. But given an ultimatum to apologize, he did so and stepped down.

Hart said the incident was hard for him because he felt it was an attack by "trolls" on his character and career.

"I'm on social media every day. I've got over 40,000 tweets. To go through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008 — that's an attack. That's a malicious attack on my character," he said.

'Second chances'

But DeGeneres said they will win if he doesn't host the Oscars.

"And you can't let them destroy you … ," DeGeneres said. "That's why they haven't found another host. I think they were secretly hoping that you'd come back. And I'm praying that this happens."

DeGeneres received some resistance on social media, with some commenters saying that Hart's homophobic jokes were a legitimate issue for discussion, and it wasn't a case of people maliciously trying to hurt him.

She responded on Twitter: "I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances."

The Oscars, which will air on Feb. 24, haven't named a replacement for Hart, who they hoped would boost ratings for the show. Last year, the Academy Awards had its smallest audience ever.

With files from CBC News