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Street Artist Trolls Oscars Over Kevin Hart Hosting Saga

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With hosting duties for the Academy Awards still up in the air, one street artist got in on the controversy by showing his support for Kevin Hart.

Conservative street artist "Sabo" is purportedly responsible for about 20 fake posters which appeared around Hollywood Sunday with the phrase "The Oscars Have No Hart" and a photograph of the comedian.

Street Artist Trolls Oscars Over Kevin Hart Hosting Saga
A poster by the street artist Sabo in Hollywood takes on the Oscar hosting controversy swirling around comedian Kevin Hart. Jan. 6, 2018. (CBS2)

On Dec. 4, Hart announced he would be hosting the Oscars. However, just two days later, Hart stepped down after anti-gay tweets, mostly dated from 2009-2011, surfaced.

"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's," Hart tweeted at the time. "This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past."

The controversy came back to the forefront when comedian Ellen DeGeneres – who herself hosted in 2014 -- revealed to Hart on her show "Ellen" Friday that she had called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to ask the organization if it would consider bringing him back to host.

"I called the Academy today, because I really want you to host the Oscars," DeGeneres said. "I was so excited when I heard that they asked you. I thought it was an amazing thing, I knew how important it was."

The Academy has not named a replacement since Hart stepped down.

"I called them," DeGeneres told Hart. "I said, 'Kevin's on, I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?' 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 could do, we would be thrilled, but he should host the Oscars.'"

In response, Hart reiterated his belief that he believes the old tweets, which he had deleted, were resurfaced by "trolls" who seek to attack him and his character.

"It wasn't a coincidence that the day after I received the job, that tweets just somehow manifested from 2008," Hart told DeGeneres.

"Leaving here, I'm promising you, I'm evaluating this conversation," Hart said. "This is a conversation I needed to have, I'm glad that I had it here. And I'm glad that it's authentic and real as I could have hoped that it would be. So let me assess, just to sit in the space and really think. And you and I will talk before anything else."

Sabo has been responsible for altering several billboards around Los Angeles over the past few years in political and social protest. In October, an image of the character Michael Myers on a billboard for the movie "Halloween" was switched out with an image of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) over her ongoing tiff with President Donald Trump.

In November of last year, he changed a West Los Angeles billboard for the film "The Greatest Showman" to include a giant image of former Sen. Al Franken appearing to reach towards a female trapeze artist. The image was in reference to a 2006 photo of Franken groping Los Angeles radio host Leann Tweeden. Franken resigned from the Senate in December amid several claims of sexual misconduct.

In February, just days before the Academy Awards, Sabo posted a political homage to the movie "Three Billboards" by draping three actual billboards in red covering with messages in support of the #MeToo movement.


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