Mo’Nique sat down with Steve Harvey Wednesday and sparks flew.
The actress and comedian stopped by Harvey’s talk show, Steve, to set the record straight about being “blackballed” in Hollywood.
Mo’Nique said she and her husband Sidney Hicks, who serves as her manager, “got labeled as difficult” for standing up for themselves when the team behind the 2009 film Precious asked her to campaign for the film, to boost its chances at winning awards, without cutting her a check.
The Oscar winner has repeatedly criticized Lee Daniels, who directed Precious, as well as Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, who served as producers. She alleges they told her to play the Hollywood game after she raised concerns about taking on additional promotional appearances, without being paid.
Mo’Nique insisted she was blacklisted simply for saying no.
“I said no to some powerful people,” she told Harvey. “I said no to Oprah Winfrey, I said no Tyler Perry, I said no to Lee Daniels and I said no to Lionsgate. The difficulty came when people that look like me, like Oprah, Tyler, Lee Daniels — and I gotta put my brother Steve [Harvey] on the list — y’all knew I was not wrong. Each one of you said to me, ‘Mo’Nique you’re not wrong.’”
The Queen of Comedy then said she felt betrayed when Harvey publicly criticized her, without picking up the phone to get her side of the story.
“When you went on the air and said, ‘My sister burned too many bridges and there’s nothing I can do for her now,’ do you know how hurt I was?”
Harvey said he thought Mo’Nique went too far by going public with the issues she was having with Daniels, Winfrey and Perry.
“I thought you went about it wrong. I felt you had done yourself a disservice by the way you chose to go about it.”
The conversation then turned to Mo’Nique’s 2018 boycott of Netflix after she said the streaming giant
low-balled her by offering her $500,000 for a comedy special, while it cut multi-million dollar checks for
Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.
Harvey said the boycott essentially fizzled because the average person couldn’t relate to her complaints.
“This problem that you had at Netflix are rich people problems, because they’re looking at us saying ‘you’re talking about millions, well, you got this, so you ought to be cool,’” he said.
Mo’Nique disagreed, insisting her complaints were more about racism, sexism and “inequality,” than money.
She then took aim at Harvey and other prominent African Americans for not publicly supporting her.
Harvey shot back that he had a major problem with Mo’Nique going on stage during a stand-up comedy show and saying Daniels, Winfrey and Perry could “suck her d–k” if she had one.
“When you made that statement, the narrative got flipped,” he said. Mo’Nique chuckled and said the late Richard Pryor told her to do that.
Harvey then went off on Mo’Nique and said, “We’re black out here, we can’t come out here and do it any kind of way we want,” he said, adding that she needs to play “the money game.”
“This ain’t the black man’s game, this ain’t the white man’s game. This is the money game,” he said. “The best thing you can do for poor people is not be one of them.”
Mo’Nique then said it was about “integrity” not money.
After the two went back-and-forth, Harvey finally relented and said he hopes things work out for Mo’Nique.
“What I want, really, is for you to come through because I know who you really are,” he said.
Since her Netflix dispute, Mo’Nique has continued to do stand-up shows. Last month she kicked off a residency at the SLS Hotel in Las Vegas.