By Aric Jenkins
January 4, 2019

Ellen Degeneres pleaded with Kevin Hart to once again agree to host the Academy Awards, going as far to tell him about a phone call she had with the Academy about his potential reinstatement.

Hart bowed out of the role last month after his homophobic tweets from roughly a decade ago resurfaced and prompted a fierce backlash. The Academy, however, according to Degeneres, is still very much interested in having the 39-year-old comedian host.

“I called them. I said Kevin’s on, I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?” Degeneres told Hart in a clip of her talk-variety show airing Friday. “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.'”

Degeneres told Hart that she forgave him for his comments and encouraged him to ignore the “haters” so he can host the event with “sophistication, class, [and] hilarity.”

Hart stepped down days after the tweets began circulating, saying he was sorry for the hurtful words and that he didn’t want to be a distraction. In the Ellen clip on Friday, Hart apologized for the tweets once again, though he said said he felt the dug up tweets were “a malicious attack on my character… an attack to end me.”

DeGeneres said she felt assured that Hart had matured as a person since positing the tweets 10 years ago.

“As a gay person,” DeGeneres said, “I am sensitive to all of that and I talked to you about all of this and 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. 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.”

Hart said that he is now “evaluating” the decision to sign back on as host.

Fortune reached out to the Academy for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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