Mo'Nique says she was blackballed, but Lee Daniels explains what happened
Mo'Nique claims she was blackballed after her 2010 Oscar win, which is the exact opposite of what usually occurs. So what happened?
The actress, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Lee Daniels' Precious, claims she was the subject of a cruel campaign to keep her and her husband off movie sets because they were deemed "difficult."
"What I understood was that when I won that Oscar, things would change in all the ways you're saying: It should come with more respect, more choices and more money," Mo'Nique said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I thought, once you won the award, that's the top prize — and so you're supposed to be treated as if you got the top prize."
But that is not what happened. Since her win, the actress only has three credits under her name, none from major studios — and that was not her choosing. In fact, she said she was supposed to star in The Butler, Empire and an upcoming Richard Pryor biopic, all helmed by Daniels, but those offers were rescinded.
"I got a phone call from Lee Daniels maybe six or seven months ago. And he said to me, 'Mo'Nique, you've been blackballed.' And I said, 'I've been blackballed? Why have I been blackballed?' And he said, 'Because you didn't play the game.' And I said, 'Well, what game is that?' And he gave me no response. The next thing he said to me was, 'Your husband is outbidding you.' But he never asked me what [salary] we were asking for."
She explained that Daniels told her that industry insiders, including an unnamed television network, called her and her husband "difficult to work with."
"They're set to say, 'Mo'Nique is tactless, she's tacky.' That's why I have my beautiful husband, because he's so full of tact, 'cause I'm a girl from Baltimore. I come from a blue-collar town — and being from that place, you learn not to let anybody take advantage of you. You don't let people mistreat you. You stand up for what's right."
And it sounds like it's that fighting spirit that ultimately did in her career. When contacted for comment by THR, Daniels responded that the star was too demanding to deal with on his current projects, but that doesn't mean he will never consider her for another role.
"Mo'Nique is a creative force to be reckoned with," he said. "Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community. I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on. However, the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles."
Two of those roles wound up going to Oprah, so maybe Mo'Nique can take solace in the fact that it took that big of a talent to replace her.