*Steve Harvey says he supports the Oscar boycott but he’s also looking forward to watching Chris Rock host the event next month. The comedian/TV host spoke to Access Hollywood after accepting NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff award in Miami on Wednesday, where he said Rock’s presence is needed to help enhance the message of inclusiveness.
“I understand the boycott,” he said during a Q&A for the National Association of Television Program Executives (via The Hollywood Reporter). “I understand what they’re saying. What I don’t understand is asking Chris Rock not to host. I think Chris Rock should host. Chris Rock doesn’t determine who the [nominees] are. The Academy does. And nobody knows who the Academy is.”
Harvey is one of the few celebrities to publicly voice his support for Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars, set to air Feb. 28.
“You take Chris off, ain’t no blacks. Nowhere,” Steve said, when asked if he supports Tyrese’s suggestion that the second-time host back down from his duties. “You can’t go forward and backwards at the same time.”
Steve believes Chris will use the event as an opportunity to sound off on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
“You let Chris Rock out there live on the Oscars, and you don’t think that Chris Rock is going to make several pointed comments about it? Oh, you better you believe he is,” Steve told Access.
“Chris Rock will be the best thing for the movement for the Oscars, than even the people not showing up. Trust and believe. Chris Rock is too smart and courageous of a guy, and I think he should host the Oscars,” he continued.
Steve explained how he believes Rock’s comedy career has prepared him for this moment, that’s likely to attract more viewers than the show has seen in its 80+ year history.
“The bigger statement would be if we stop shooting black kids that were unarmed. The bigger statement would be if we had some type of damn gun control laws; that would be a bigger statement,” he said. “What you dumping it on a black comedian for?”
Steve also spoke about his friend Bill Cosby, who he didn’t exactly defend against the sex scandal claims but he did voice his support for the fallen comedian/TV star.
“He has been a friend of mine. He has been a friend to my children That’s the man I know. I don’t know what it is. I would love to believe none of it were true, but I’m not the judge and jury on this one. Wherever the chips fall, he is my friend.”
“I’ve talked with him a couple times,” he added. “I don’t bring up the subject. What do I say to him, “Hang in there?” Have you ever been in trouble and someone told you ‘Hang in there?'”
As far the hot topic of the event, Harvey’s world shattering 2015 Miss Universe fiasco.
“I was asking God to help me increase my global persona,” he said. “I don’t appreciate the route he took. You’ve got to be real specific with God. It was a challenging night for sure.”