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Kevin Hart defends Ellen DeGeneres and Nick Cannon, says they're 'amazing people'

Kevin Hart, who was involved in his own controversy over hosting last year's Oscars, said he supports Ellen DeGeneres and Nick Cannon because he knows "how dark it gets."
/ Source: TODAY

Kevin Hart came to the defense of Ellen DeGeneres and Nick Cannon amid the controversies both have been facing, saying he’s been down that road himself.

The actor and comedian spoke to Deadline about supporting his friends during a time when DeGeneres' talk show has been beset by accusations that it was a hostile workplace and Cannon lost his job with ViacomCBS for making anti-Semitic comments.

People's Choice Awards 2017 - Roaming Show
Kevin Hart has defended Ellen DeGeneres amid turmoil on her show, a year after she defended him during a controversy regarding him hosting the Oscars. Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

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"When it comes to Nick, and it comes Ellen, I know who they are, and I know who they’ve been for the years that I’ve been around them, and I can only speak to that," Hart said. "Those are two of the most amazing people that I know."

Hart went through a similar situation last year when he was selected to host the Oscars but then stepped down following a backlash over old tweets and comedy routines that were criticized for being homophobic.

DeGeneres came to his defense at the time, even lobbying the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to have him reinstated as host.

"In times like this, I know also how dark it gets," he said. "I know how lonely it gets, because I know that these are times when people just turn their back on you. So for the ones that you love, that are close to your heart, you just want them to have some support, when it seems that there is none out there, and that’s just who I am as a person."

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DeGeneres announced to her staff on Tuesday that three executive producers had departed the show following an internal investigation. A spokesperson for Warner Bros. confirmed the producers’ departure to NBC News. The probe came on the heels of a Buzzfeed report that featured several former staffers and one current employee saying they endured a culture of racism, fear and intimidation.

NBC News spoke to multiple former staffers at the “Ellen” show who corroborate at least some of the accusations of misconduct. Those sources did not want to speak publicly because they are bound by nondisclosure agreements and feared retribution.

Cannon issued an apology in July, saying he was "ashamed" for remarks he called "hurtful and divisive."

He made the comments on an episode of his "Cannon's Class" podcast with former Public Enemy member Richard "Professor Griff" Griffin. The episode was recorded last year but aired on June 30.

Hart said he believed in sticking with DeGeneres and Cannon because he valued their friendships, "and in our business, it’s one thing that people don’t really hold on to.”

"There’s a lot of relationships that are fake, and there’s some that are real,” he said. "In my case, the ones that are real are the ones that I’m always going to be adamant about speaking on behalf of.

"I know the people that both of them are, and knowing the people, all I can say is my experiences with those people. That’s not to take away from what other people are saying that they have had, and that they have done. It’s just to highlight what I’m saying I know, and what I can speak on behalf of."

Hart also reflected on the negative side of cancel culture, saying there had to be "a middle ground."

"What happened to the days of making a mistake, learning from the mistake, not doing that, and educating others on what not to do because of your mistakes?"