The Issue With Ellen Believing in Forgiveness

Jacey Brown, Writer

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A recent episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show is adding a new layer of drama to the controversy surrounding comedian Kevin Hart hosting, then stepping down from hosting the 2019 Oscars. (Episode:

If you’re not caught up on the whole situation, Hart was picked to host the famed award show nearly a month ago. Immediately following, old tweets and videos surfaced in which Hart was seen using homophobic slurs and insults.

In 2011, Hart tweeted, “Yo if my son comes home & try’s to play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.’”

Two days after tweets like these went viral on social media, Hart officially stepped down from the role of host. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has yet to offer the position to anyone else, with the award show approaching quickly.

Now, the comedian has come back under fire after openly-gay TV show host Ellen DeGeneres invited him onto her talk show in an effort to get him reinstated as host, calling out those who initially made the old tweets resurface. “That’s a small group of people being very loud. We are a large group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars.”

In a nearly six minute long apology on the TV show, Hart claimed he had a dream of hosting the award show because “there hasn’t been a lot of African-American comedians that have been able to do it.” He went on to apologize for his past homophobic actions, saying, “On my side, openly, I say I’m wrong for my past words.”

After the interview, DeGeneres came under fire on social media, and took to Twitter to address her followers. “I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances,” tweeted DeGeneres. “And I believe in [Kevin Hart].”

Despite her attempts to have him reinstated, Hart told Variety he had no plans of ever hosting the Oscars. Still, the biggest issue here is not simply whether the comedian will host or not host; the issue at hand is that DeGeneres, in her rich and white privilege, felt that she could speak over the minorities who didn’t, in fact, believe in forgiveness for Hart’s past words and actions.

According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, “lesbian, gay, and bisexual ethnic minority youths may be at increased risk for suicide attempts relative to white LGB youths.” Therefore, as an African-American man whom many youths look up to, Hart’s homophobic words and slurs could potentially be harmful to people of color in the LGBT community.

DeGeneres’ actions of reassuring forgiveness on behalf of the LGBTQ community might have been well-intentioned, but they came off more as an attempt of a rich, white woman using those privileges to speak over and for LGBTQ minority groups. Twitter is in a state of conflict and outrage, and while people on social media generally favor the TV show host for paving the way for lesbian women to be more accepted in the industry, she is the one under fire this time.

“Ellen, this really wasn’t your place to offer forgiveness, ‘cause you weren’t harmed in this. Black LGBTQ people were who were harmed in this situation,” said journalist and activist George M Johnson in a video posted to Twitter on the fourth of January.

Although most can agree DeGeneres is one of the most generous and influential celebrities (she received the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil honor, in 2016), her actions in the case of Hart show an extremely ignorant, even if unintentional, disregard to the people of color in the very community she constantly fights for.

“Where are you allowing the space for those who were harmed to come on your show?” demanded George M Johnson, which couldn’t be more truthful. If DeGeneres could give Hart the opportunity to voice his side of the story on her widely-viewed talk show, she could just as easily have given the opportunity for black LGBTQ activists to voice their side. If she would’ve done so, the Friday-aired episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show could have potentially been an interesting, open discussion between celebrities and audiences like we’ve rarely seen on daytime television.

No matter who ends up hosting the 2019 Oscars, the controversy with both Hart and DeGeneres shows that issues involving minorities are so much deeper and important than in years past, and they need to be addressed as such, giving voice to those who are often overlooked.