Mo'Nique Explains Why She's in 'Bessie': HBO Played Fair

by Raphael Chestang 4:11 PM PDT, April 21, 2015
Playing Mo'Nique Explains Why She's in 'Bessie': HBO Played Fair

Oscar winner Mo'Nique sat down with ET to discuss the rumor that she was blackballed in Hollywood, which she insists is a false idea started by Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels.

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"I never bought into me being blackballed by Hollywood," Mo'Nique told ET. "That was something that Mr. Daniels said."

Previously, Daniels told ET that Mo'Nique hadn't been working because she "pissed a lot of people off" and was "making demands."

According to Mo'Nique, the real reason she didn't work in Hollywood for nearly four years after her Oscar win was because the powers that be weren't playing fair.

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"It's simply because if we continue to take those low offers, if we continue to accept the treatment, that award means absolutely nothing," Mo'Nique said.

Mo'Nique claims that Daniels cut her out of two of his biggest projects. She told ET that she was offered the role of Gloria in The Butler before it went to Oprah Winfrey and that she has emails showing that she was originally offered the part of Cookie in Empire.

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Even with these alleged missed opportunities, Mo'Nique is doing just fine today. She's producing and starring in the new movie, Blackbird, out April 24, and she co-stars with Queen Latifah in HBO's Bessie, the story of blues legend Bessie Smith, which premieres May 16.

"What [HBO] did was play fair, and they paid me according to [my] resume," Mo'Nique said. "When I say I make more money from HBO then I've ever made in my career, that's what it is because they were fair in negotiations."

Mo'Nique was sure to make it clear that she harbors no ill will towards Daniels.

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"I love Mr. Daniels and I wish that brother nothing but the absolute best," Mo'Nique said. "And we actually reached out to him through e-mail and we haven't gotten a response."