In 2010, Mo’Nique won an Oscar for her compelling role as Mary Jones in Lee Daniels‘ emotionally draining film, Precious.

After winning one of the highest honors in Hollywood, one would assume there’d be countless opportunities for the actress and comedian and her career would soar to new heights. But, according to Mo’Nique…she got blackballed.

In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mo’Nique candidly discussed the unexpected turn her career took following the greatest moment in her career.

It all began when Mo’Nique came under fire for not attending the various events and parties leading up to the Academy Awards as most nominees do. But, Mo said she felt she didn’t need to campaign for an award she didn’t ask for.

The things people were writing and saying, it was mind-blowing. But what I was saying was, ‘You want me to campaign for an award — and I say this with all the humility in the world — but you want me to campaign for an award that I didn’t ask for.’ So when I’m in Utah at the Sundance Festival, and an Asian brother comes up to me and breaks down in my arms, and says, ‘Mo’Nique, I am Mary Jones,’ do you know that’s the biggest award you could receive? It had nothing to do with a trophy. If people want to say I didn’t campaign because I took my family first? I’ll accept that.

 

 

 

 

Mo’Nique revealed it was Lee Daniels who informed her she had been blackballed for “not playing the game.”



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.’

Unfortunately, Mo’Nique‘s reputation of being difficult to work with shut a lot of doors that were once open or should have been opened for her following her Oscar win.

You know what I learned? Never to think what somebody else was thinking. That’s a question you would have to ask Lee Daniels.* There have been people that have said, ‘Mo’Nique, she can be difficult. Mo’Nique and her husband can be difficult.’ They could probably be right. One of the networks said to [Lee] that I was ‘really difficult to work with.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s funny, because I’ve never even worked with them, but OK.’

Whoever those people are who say, ‘Mo’Nique is difficult,’ those people are either heartless, ruthless or treat people like they’re worthless. And that’s unacceptable. 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.

So I can’t answer why he said I was blackballed. There may be people that feel that way about me. But I respect everyone, from the homeless brother and sister on the street to the executive that sits in the highest office named President Barack Obama. I respect everyone — but we over-respect no one.

The Oscar-winning actress went on to share how various roles she was offered were suddenly pulled off of the table.

Well, actually, I was offered the role in The Butler that Oprah Winfrey played. I was also approached by Empire to be on Empire. And I was also offered the role as Richard Pryor‘s grandmother in [Daniels’ upcoming Pryor biopic]. Each of those things that he offered me was taken off the table. (Laughs.) They all just went away. But that’s just part of the business, you know? I can’t be upset at anybody, ’cause life is too good. It’s just what it is.

When the excerpts of Mo’Nique‘s interview with The Hollywood Reporter went public, she posted this message via Twitter:

Mo'Nique blackballed -The Hollywood Reporter

Lee Daniels issued a statement in response to Mo’Nique‘s THR interview.



Mo’nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. 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.

Welp. My grandmother always said everybody ain’t gone tell the same lie on you.

I wish Mo’Nique the best.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.