Lee Daniels continued to criticize Mo’Nique for accusing him of blackballing her career in a new video interview on TMZ’s web talk show “Raq Rants.” Daniels told host Raquel Harper that Mo’Nique is “really wrong” to accuse him and others of blackballing her career following her Oscar win for “Precious.” The “Empire” creator also said it breaks his heart Mo’Nique feels he is capable of doing such a harmful thing to her.
“I fought hard for her to get that job,” Daniels said about casting Mo’Nique in “Precious.” “I wanted her to get that job. And she was paid her money. She was paid the money for the budget that we had. And for her to badmouth myself and [executive producers] Tyler Perry and Oprah is disrespectful and it’s wrong. She’s out of pocket. She’s really wrong.”
Mo’Nique alleged in a 2015 interview that Daniels and others blackballed her over her allegedly difficult behavior during the “Precious” awards campaign. The comedian said Daniels called her and told her she “did not play the game” and was blackballed as a result. She went on to accuse Daniels of blackballing her himself after she auditioned for his projects “Empire” and “The Butler,” only for Daniels to allegedly go silent on her.
Daniels originally responded to Mo’Nique during a CNN interview with Don Lemon. The director said he never blackballed her and accused Mo’Nique of making “unreasonable demands” during the “Precious” awards campaign.
“You have to thank the producers of the film, you have to thank the studio, and she didn’t understand that,” Daniels told Lemon at the time. “People aren’t going to respond well. I love her, I’ve spoken to her. She’s brilliant, and I love working with brilliant people. Sometimes artists get in their own way — I know I certainly do often, I have my own demons. I think that there were demands that were made on the ‘Precious’ campaign that everyone knows hurt her. I told her that. You’ve gotta play ball. This is not just show — it is show business.”
Over three years later, Daniels is still defending himself against Mo’Nique’s claim. The director told Harper “no one blackballed” the comedian and she blackballed herself. “For her to continue to speak about Oprah and myself and Tyler is disrespectful,” Daniels said.
“I respect her [as an] actor because she gave me her soul, but I gave her my soul. And for that she was given the Golden Globe and the Academy Award,” Daniels continued. “It breaks my heart that she feels that we blackballed her….I don’t understand her motive. I don’t get it. I really don’t. [We] were really down for Mo. To get that performance from her, she had to bare her soul to me. I had to bare my soul to her. That was like making love without having sex.”
Daniels ended the conversation by saying, “For her to think that I could do anything but, I don’t know, I don’t, like, it ain’t even worth the conversation. Like, she needs to shut up.”
Daniels, whose FOX series “Empire” is heading into its fifth season this fall, also told “Raq Rants” about his upcoming Billie Holiday project with singer Audra Day. Watch the filmmaker’s entire appearance on the web talk show below.