LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) Despite the efforts of Ellen DeGeneres to get him to return and after news celebrity Don Lemon urged him not to, Kevin Hart has reportedly decided to maintain his position that he will not be host of the upcoming Academy Awards.
Sources tell Deadline Hollywood that, although Hart was moved by DeGeneres’ gesture to get Hart to return to his hosting duties, the comedian has decided to maintain stick with his original intention to decline the offer because his presence would overshadow the evening’s award presentations. He was also concerned about the limited time he would have to prepare, according to sources.
“Both are legitimate concerns,” writes Mike Fleming Jr. “After the ensuing parade of blowhard polemic articles following Hart’s Ellen appearance, who can blame him?”
Don Lemon, a news host on CNN, drew the most attention, criticizing Hart for the original concern – a tweet from 2008 deemed offensive to the LGBTQ community – saying in an opinion segment on his TV show that apologizing was not enough.
“Kevin, if anything, this is the time to hear other people out,” Lemon said. “To understand why they might have been offended. And I don’t see any meaningful outreach to the LGBT community. Not that I know of. Maybe you do it privately, and if you do, then I congratulate you, but nothing that you have spoken of.”
Lemon, identifying himself as a member of the black LGBTQ community, said there were “life and death” consequences of homophobia, particularly for black people who are disproportionately subject to violence.
Hart responded with an Instagram post that in part read, “Basketball players aren’t great until they LEARN how to play the game correctly. Teachers are great teachers when they LEARN how to get thru to kids correctly. … A news anchor or a journalist does not start at the top…they have to LEARN and develop to be great at their job.”
Meanwhile, after the Lemon commentary fueled a Twitter backlash against Hart, Vance DeGeneres, brother of the talk show host, added his two cents:
“Regarding my sister – no good deed goes unpunished,” he wrote on Facebook. “All she’s ever done is try to help make the world a better, kinder, more compassionate place. And she’s paid the price for her efforts. You may want to pick on someone who actually deserves your criticism.”
“The Academy still hasn’t announced its plans, deep into Golden Globes weekend, with ABC promos bypassing the hosting situation,” Fleming writes. “But I’m told the Academy has been quietly lining up stars to help out and will continue on that route.”