Kevin Hart, who was briefly tapped to host the Oscars until backlash over his past homophobic tweets and jokes—and backlash over his attempts to defuse the backlash—led the comedian to step down from the job, is still not hosting the Oscars, Deadline reports. Hart, who appeared on Ellen Friday to discuss the controversy, seemed to be laying the groundwork for a return: DeGeneres introduced him as “this year’s Oscar host,” and as Slate’s Christina Cauterucci noted, Hart’s appearance had all the hallmarks of an apology tour except “a believable apology.” But although “the situation is still fluid,” Hart has reportedly decided that if he hosted the Academy Awards, the controversy would be a distraction, which is pretty much what he said a month ago:
Hart is reportedly also concerned that if he returned to the job, he wouldn’t have enough time to prepare before the Feb. 24 award ceremony. Deadline reports that the Academy, which still has not named a host, is approaching multiple stars to split the duties. But the most interesting thing about Deadline’s story is not the news—nothing has changed—but the venality of this framing:
His decade old, hurtful tweets aside—Hart has pretty much been a model citizen as a movie star. He has become one of a handful of reliably bankable movie stars, through a combination of talent and a willingness to relentlessly promote his films.
At a certain point—and the Trump era seems like a good one—we really ought to come up with a better definition of “model citizen” than “made a lot of people a lot of money.”