NEW YORK (NYTIMES) – Kevin Hart shut the door on hosting the Oscars in an interview on Good Morning America on Wednesday (Jan 9).
“I’m not hosting the Oscars this year,” Hart told Michael Strahan, one of the morning show’s hosts, citing the lack of preparation time for the Feb 24 ceremony and the shoot schedule for his next film, a sequel to Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
He added: “If I do something, I want to be able to give it my all and make sure that the production is a great representation of me and my talent. I can’t do that right now.”
Talk of Hart being reinstated as host of the Academy Awards was ignited after he made an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show last week.
DeGeneres implored him to reconsider his withdrawal and said that she had called someone at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to vouch for him.
It is unclear whom she spoke to and the Academy never confirmed the call.
At the time, Hart said he was re-evaluating the decision to withdraw as host.
He stepped down from his role last month, just two days after getting the job, when several comments that were deemed homophobic had resurfaced from his past.
These included posts on Twitter and a joke on a stand-up special.
On Monday, Hart issued his most direct apology about the material to date, on his SiriusXM radio show.
“Once again, Kevin Hart apologises for his remarks that hurt members of the LGBTQ community; I apologise,” Hart said.
Previously, he had been criticised for saying he had apologised for his past comments, when his addressing of the material was limited.
The Good Morning America appearance, Hart’s first live interview about the Oscars, was tense. Hart seemed frustrated about having to address the controversy while promoting his movie The Upside, which is being released on Friday.
When Strahan pressed Hart on how his beliefs on homosexuality had changed, what he had learned from this experience and what message he had for children, Hart dodged the questions.
He answered several times with some variation of “I’m done with it” or “I’m over it.”
And he said he would no longer address the controversy.
“There’s no more conversation about it; I’m literally – I’m over that,” Hart said. “I’m over the moment and I’m about today, so if it’s accepted, great. If it’s not, it’s nothing I can control. Some things are left out of your hands so I’m done with it. I’m over it. That’s where I personally am.”
At one point, Strahan said, “So not to put words in your mouth, you’re trying to say that you’ve apologised and people should accept the way in which you’ve done it.”
Hart responded, “Here’s what I’m trying to say: I’m over it.”
This got an awkward laugh from the studio audience.
Hart told Strahan that if members of the public were still angry at him, the problem was with them.
“I put out good energy,” Hart said.
“I inspire. I motivate. I’m a good person. I love to love. If you don’t see that, then it means there’s a problem with you.”
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