After winning Best Supporting Actress in 2010 for her critically acclaimed performance as the abusive mother Mary in Lee Daniels' Precious, actress/comedian Mo'Nique says she was "blackballed" from Hollywood.
"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,'" the 47-year-old The Parkers star tells The Hollywood Reporter in a candid new interview. "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."
Mo'Nique says some were upset that she didn't "campaign" for her Oscar.
"The things people were writing and saying, it was mind-blowing," she recalls. "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."
She does, however, acknowledge her "difficult" reputation.
"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," she admits, referencing her husband, actor/producer Sidney Hicks.
Though she later goes on the offensive.
"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," she adds. "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."
She claims that major roles that were initially offered to her were taken away, mentioning two specific high-profile parts in Daniels' other high-profile projects that both eventually went to Oprah Winfrey.
"Actually, I was offered the role in The Butler that Oprah Winfrey played," she claims. "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. 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."
Daniels has responded to Mo'Nique's bold interview, and he doesn't exactly deny her claims.
"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," he told THR in a statement. "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."