Mo’Nique Claims She Was Blackballed By Hollywood After Winning Oscar

February 19, 2015  |  

WENN

In the years since actress and comedienne Mo’Nique won an Academy Award for her role as the very malicious and abusive Mary in Precious, we’ve watched her slim down substantially and embrace a healthier lifestyle. But that’s all we’ve really watched her do, because she hasn’t had a big role on-screen since that Oscar win in 2009.

She has literally been in four movies since Precious came out: Steppin: The MovieBlackbird (alongside Isaiah Washington), About and the TV movie Bessie, starring Queen Latifah, which is about the life of blues singer Bessie Smith. But why haven’t we seen her do anything else? According to the actress, and even Lee Daniels, the force behind Precious, it’s because Mo’Nique has been “blackballed” in the industry.

In an essay written for an upcoming issue of The Hollywood Reporter, she says that after her Oscar win, she thought the little gold man would bring her more respect, better choices for roles and more money, which it usually does. But because she didn’t campaign for her Oscar, and was cited as being somewhat “difficult” to work with, Mo’Nique says that Lee Daniels told her just a few months ago that she had been excluded in the industry.

“I got a phone call from Lee Daniels…And he said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed.’ I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Because you didn’t play the game.’ I said, ‘Well, what game is that?’ He gave me no response.”

Campaigning for an Oscar is a pretty big deal when you’re trying to not only get recognition for a film, but want to see the effects of what happens when the film, or its actors, win (aka, a boost in ticket sales and notoriety). While most studios spend a great deal of money to campaign during awards season, according to Deadline, actors should be campaigning too:

Increasingly, the personal touch has become really helpful. If you have an actor who can plant him- or herself in Los Angeles and/or New York to do meet-and-greets during crucial voting periods, you have a better shot of making an impact. I have talked to many weary nominees at the end of the long process who have shaken so many hands, attended so many dinners, done so many Q&As and talk shows and receptions…

But Mo’Nique didn’t during the 2009-2010 awards season. When she won her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Role, she even said in her acceptance speech that she was thankful that the Academy showed “that it can be about the performance and not the politics.” That, along with the actress claiming that people behind-the-scenes have called her “difficult,” “tactless” and “tacky,” has held her back. And interesting enough, according to her, those who claim she is difficult, tactless and tacky are “probably right.” But still, she’s not letting all that hold her back.

“That is why I have my beautiful husband because he’s so full of tact. I’m just a girl from Baltimore. But being from that place, you learn not to let anybody take advantage of you.”

Since coming to this realization, Mo’Nique says she’s learned not to take this whole game the bigwigs in Hollywood play personally, even after losing roles in The Butler, “Empire,” and Lee Daniels’ upcoming Richard Pryor biopic, roles which she says “all just went away.” But for his part in this, Daniels sent out a statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying that he still has love for the actress, but that the powers that be didn’t want her involved in such projects…

“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.”

It’s a jungle out here…especially in Hollywood. Despite being blackballed, Mo’Nique is slated to appear alongside Isaiah Washington in the upcoming film, BlackBird, which debuts April 24.

You can check out Mo’Nique’s full open letter in the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter when it drops on Feb. 27.

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  • Ifuaskme2

    No. It’s probably because she married a man who loves ‘black balls’ more than she does.

  • MELLWAT

    About 30 years ago…Ed Murphy..taught us a LESSON about the “GAME” that “MAN” plays…ever seen “TRADING PLACES”?

  • medgirl

    You can only be in power for so long, the ANGRY WHITE-PALE MAN control is coming to an end. They will be the DEMISE of America.

  • medgirl

    Why can’t we get it threw our heads, that “AMERICA” is the most RACISTS country in the world and thank GOD that the rest of the world is beginning to see that.

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  • MELLWAT

    Powerful statement…i forgot about her”Skinny Batches” rant..guess those under 200lb” shot callers” didn’t get the”joke”…guess the joke is on “MO”..now?

  • DaTruf

    Monique is so “difficult” that they black balled her yet when white actresses are known for being difficult they are called divas and given more roles. To hell with Hollywood. A bunch of fake azz people doing fake azz things.

  • Nnam

    Michael Fassbender refused to campaign and was fine. It’s hard out here for a woman of color in Hollywood.

    • D

      Let’s just say it: it’s run by a bunch of old, decrepit, racist GAY while men. That is all. You know those biyatches can’t stand a real woman & especially a real black woman who will check their a$$ es.

  • zara

    Actually, Lee was giving her a heads up, a clue

  • fhsmct

    Wasn’t being difficult to work mwith one of the things cited in the demise of her Talk Show?

    No matter how we may or may not look at it, HollyWierd is what it is and “ya’ gots to play the game” to be so-called successful . . .

  • R Hugh Sirius

    Blackballed? Must they have a role available for every cow that strolls out of the barn?

    • D

      If every white gay male can get a job in hollyweird, both on & off camera..I’m sure after having proven his hoover suction skills..then yes, cows should have options too.

      • R Hugh Sirius

        Yes, but gay is in nowadays. Not that I’m saying anything…

        • Thetruth

          I’m glad to hear you finally came out…

          • R Hugh Sirius

            Why don’t you bend over so that Monique can kick you in the @ss. For someone who keeps going away, you keep coming back.

            • Thetruth

              Corny kid…

  • MELLWAT

    The name of the “GAME” is…GET ALONG TO GO ALONG….OR get gone!!!!…everybody black knows this…period

  • markmark

    Bull

  • Lee

    Ain’t never going to happen. Hollywood is too full of a**wipes and not enough of people who love making good movies using the best talent available. . . it’s all about filming whatever crap they think will sell, all about the benjamin’s.

  • Lee

    Ok, Mo’nique obviously pissed off some people before the oscar’s. So why was she voted her oscar? Evidently, those that vote thought that her performance was outstanding and, supposedly, those awards are given for the performance not her attitude or likeablity. I think she can be funny and I’m not her biggest fan, but since she has shown she can act she shouldn’t be black balled from working in the cesspool that hollywood is today. There are a lot of folks that have done a lot worse chit than she did and still get hired. Case in point – that skank Lindsey Lohan to name just one. Nobody’s perfect. Oh and remember Cuba Gooding? He went a little nuts onstage when he won – seen him lately? We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t “play the game”,

    • D

      Exactly. the game is that they continue to cast us as buffoons..we grovel and go along with it, happy to have work & black people pay for the crap and root for it while stuff that uplifts is never bankrolled or greenlighted and we keep getting fed stereotypes and garbage. That’s the only game going on in hollyweird and it’s an old one. All they want is some variation of criminals, mammys,buffoons or bed wenches for white men. Ain’t not one damn major studio role NOT falling in the above category. Not one.

  • uniquefashionista

    She was passed up for Empire? For what part? I love Monique and all, but I don’t see her in that show at all. I too have heard that she burned a lot of bridges. In the entertainment industry, you have to be willing to play the game. I hope to see her in something soon. The ” Oscar Curse” is no joke!

    • Lee

      If Daniels could find a role for Gadaby(sp?) . . . he could have found one for Mo’nique. Just sayin’.

  • eestoomuch

    what about all the fools who campaign and never win? hollywierd gets down one or three ways 1) casting couch 2) picking names out of a hat 3) asking their school age children “what do you think bout this Amber/Timmy?” say i’m lying.

    • Lee

      Maybe she didn’t go all out with the campaigning because she didn’t think she would have a chance of winning, whether she played the campaign game or not.

  • Jaderade

    Maybe because she is a fat black woman with attitude. She is so rare, I have never heard of that stereotype before!

    • Guest

      Lol! A troll just reading the headline and not the story–How rare?!?! I’ve never heard of that stereotype either. Too funny!

  • guest

    I totally forgot that she won an Oscar! I believe everything she says is accurate. Good for her exposing the backdoor politics and shady dealings in Hollyweird!

    • Yvette

      Shady politics and back door dealings have been going on in Hollywood since the beginning of time. She didn’t expose anything new.

  • John Taber

    Mo’Nique, you would probably get more roles if you were photogenic, and you’re not. End of story.

    • Lee

      Totally unnecessary – you proably ain’t that cute yourself baby. This is not about looks.

      • John Taber

        I’m extremely hot. So much so the ladies can’t stop hitting on me.

        • D

          You mean hitting at you, don’t you? As in shoo fly shoo!

        • Lee

          Cute 🙂

  • John Taber

    She is one of the idiots that sees a racist behind every tree.

    • D

      They usually are..holding a rope. Or lurking on a black female site like the biyatches they usually are…welcome.

      • hollyw

        Hahaa!

  • Nikki Green

    some friend Lee is……

    • Yvette

      None of this is Lee’s fault. When he is working to get a project green lit and the executives don’t like the attitude of the actress he chose and tells him to re-cast is he not suppose to do that? He has a movie/tv show to get made and has to move forward. He is being a friend by telling her what the industry thinks of her instead of leaving her to wonder why she keeps losing parts. Monique needs to be a friend to herself and get some humility in her life. Life has a way of bringing an inflated ego back down to earth.

      • Lee

        No, it isn’t his fault, but he could have been a better “friend” than that. When she asked him about “the game” she was supposed to play – he would not answer her. I agree with what you say, but he could at least throw her a bone and tell her what she needs to know, even if she doesn’t follow his advice. He stood on someone’s shoulder to get where he is. Just like he’s the chit now – he better not get too used to it cause he can be knocked down too.

      • Nikki Green

        not saying it’s his fault but damn wouldn’t you expect a ”friend” to have your back meaning speak up for you as best they can? Seems like they said ”we don’t want her” and he said ”ok” as if he had no say so at all. I’m sure in his position he can call some shots.

    • Lee

      With him as a friend someone who “really loves her” she doesn’t need enemies. I think her best hope in the future would be Tyler Perry(?).

      • Nikki Green

        right I mean damn seems like he didn’t even try to have her back. I know he can call some shots and people will listen but doesn’t seem like her ”friend” even tried.

        • Lee

          Not to mention how “Empire” is blowing up big time. The soundtrack album from the show is on the charts – and you know money talks – but he can’t do anything for her?

  • Stephanie Jones

    I’m not surprised she has been black balled. I work for a production company and you have to campaign heavily when you are an oscar nominee. While I agree with some of the things Monique says I think her admitting she is several of the things ppl said she is should be reason she changes her behavior. With all that being said I think she deserves a second chance.

  • Bridget Abrandnewme Harris

    I think this is seriously fucked up!!! She MADE Precious what it was and for Lee Daniels NOT to go to bat for her says volumes about him! So WHAT she didn’t play the Hollywood game!! What about staying true to oneself or as the kids say these days, keeping it 100!!!

    • Nicky

      There is a time and place for eveything.

    • bbuster

      Ever heard of the phrase “when keeping it real goes wrong?” That’s what happened to Monique. She’s not going to lose herself by doing a little press here and there for her work. It’s not so much as keeping it 100 as it is making the sacrifices you need to make to get to where you need to be.

      • cassanova1974

        Well said.

  • Guest

    What game? Promoting your movie? You should promote your movie regardless of whether it’s award season or not. It brings in money, rises your star power, and potentially gives you awards. She said it herself she didn’t do that. As a result, people don’t get to know you. You don’t build relationships with the big wigs where possible other movie roles are discussed. Thinking that you’re an Oscar winner now and people should come to you is not how this works. You are not too good to do what other actors have to do to find work. Humble yourself.

  • Terrence Wade

    Damned Shame!

  • Rebecca Holmes

    Wow! Why aren’t there specifics. What specifically did she do that got her blackballed? However, I do remember her in an interview when she was nominated and she stated that everyone wants me to fly here and there to do this and that. Don’t they understand I have children at home? While that’s true, I remember thinking, wow, she sounded so ungrateful. Not saying that she shouldn’t put her kids first but the way she said it was almost like she was not thankful for all the success.

    • Heather

      This! Lee Daniels was right…she didn’t know how to play the game. You have to do certain things initially, even at the expense of your family, if you want to get ahead in Hollyweird. None

  • Mayon’naise Jackson

    Having a stank attitude will do you no good in any industry. Look in the mirror, Monique, and you will see the problem. Humble yourself and leave the ghetto mentality in Baltimore where it belongs.

    • D

      That’s so classist. As many trailer park types as there are in hollyweird and you actually believe that ‘ghetto’ is a problem? How ’bout a black woman who won’t grovel and knows her worth and is uncompromising in how she markets her ‘brand’? Like we don’t have the right…I think if anything, that’s why she was blackballed–if that’s what actually happened. Why Lee Daniels the dog that brought the bone that she was supposedly ‘blackballed’ but he too wussy to go out on a limb for his ‘friend’ and at least call her in to read or audition? At least give the appearance of having some balls. Biyatch. With ‘friends’ like him, she may want to watch her back. Maybe go back to stand up.

  • Val

    I haven’t missed her a bit.

  • Bubbysdtr

    She was on a roll, until she started tellling the world everything: “I don’t shave my legs, I let my husband sleep with other women, etc.” Same thing happened to Vivica, leave something to the imagination. Even if your name is mentioned in the same sentence with white actresses, they get a pass that women of color will never get. Look at Lupita, Octavia, and Viola Davis, we know very little about their personal lives and that is why they are still in the public eye. Dummy.

    • Rebecca Holmes

      What did Vivica say?

      • Bubbysdtr

        Vivica was on a roll after Independence Day and that Tarantino film, but all the info about her love life in ALL of her interviews was too much. After the demise of her marriage, EVERYBODY knew every detail of why, how, when.
        I hate generalizations, and I recently had to learn myself, that as black women, we aren’t given the opportunity to be mad, sad, hurt…OTHERS moreso than not are more comfortable characterizing our emotions as the angry black woman. They know that caricature….and it allows them the opportunity of not dealing with us.

        • Disgust

          That isn’t on us, that’s their sickness. So Monique should deny her
          humanity and the right to be herself to massage their insecurities? Not
          saying that’s what you are implying. It’s a rhetorical question. My
          thing is: she did her job. How much $ did she make for that damn studio?
          How many opportunities were cultivated for those white boys who
          produced & bankrolled the movie? How much did SHE make? They
          probably STILL making money off of that horrible movie. And I think
          that’s what at the root of this: they want ‘manageables’ as i read
          someone else refer to actors/actresses in hollyweird. Monique ain’t
          that. And Monique is not the 1st black actor to say that winning an
          oscar didn’t translate into more work.

          • Lee

            Very true.

        • cassanova1974

          I agree but why should we as black women accept how we are portrayed and live up to those preconceived notions? Why can’t we show a soft and vulnerable side? So frustrating

          • Lee

            We can and do, but people see and think what they want even if they know the BS is untrue. All we can do is continue to be true to ourselves and forget the MF’s that don’t want to know better or accept us as we are. We are strong and regardless of those that don’t know how to act – we have to remain strong to survive.

      • Lee

        Yeah . . . what did she say? Her relationship with 50?

    • LL

      No, she said ‘black women don’t shave their legs’ on the View, of all places. I can’t stand when people think they are the representative for one particular group of people and say some ignorant mess.

      • Guest1

        You take on that shame. Do you think all white people are embarrassed by Jeffery Dahmer? I won’t allow them to make me take on that burden. We all know that Monique is not the only sistah who doesn’t shave her legs. But apparently, that didn’t keep her from getting work BEFORE she said it. Hell, if she and her man like it, who am i to judge? The real problem is that black people as a whole are judged by the ‘worst elements’ of our community & whites are judged by the best. But again, that’s their problem. I won’t take on that burden. They are always going to look for the worst in us b/c it makes them feel better about themselves. That’s what it all boils down to: projection.

    • cassanova1974

      Yes!! Yes!!!! and Yes!!!!!!!

  • guest

    did she watch the movie? she talks about people behind their backs like she looks so good.
    is she proud she won an oscar for that role?

  • Libera_Free

    Sometimes it boils down to HUMILITY! Some people it takes longer for them to get it, some don’t get it until it is forced upon them…This is one of those situations where if you can’t be humble on your own the world will show you who actually has the control.
    I hope she learns from the situation, gets a new management team, humbles herself and slowly start to get her career on track. She is very talented and has a lot to offer.
    I’m not always in agreement or fond of some of her ways and the things she says but I do want to see her succeed.

    • guest

      Lack of humility may be one of the reasons she’s having a difficult time but we have all heard the stories of diva behavior from many actors/actresses. There’s definitely some truth in what she’s saying about “not playing the game”.

      • Libera_Free

        There is some truth to that, I agree…but if you are not willing to push projects as they would like you to (which you would think she would want to since she was part of it) and then you are known to be a “diva” on top of being a woman of color (which we all know don’t get a fair shake) then what do you expect. You can still be you, but do it professionally and get the job done

      • ashley79

        I agree. Don’t forget that most people didn’t know who she was before the movie. I think that it’s telling when you don’t get invited back the next year after you won the Oscar.

      • Guest1

        Playing the game is translation for kissing white people’s a$$. Making them feel comfortable for giving you the keys to the proverbial city. All these negroes producing these shows and they don’t have the authority to employ this woman? What damn narcissistic actor ain’t difficult? They all got insecurity issues. Especially comedians. I think that’s what makes them so good & pushes them into entertainment.

    • DGal

      Monique just disappeared after Precious (which I still havent seen btw). Everyone has to play the game @ times…especially in the entertainment industry. Gabby Sidoube seems to be doing just fine getting roles and she doesn’t appear to be typecast.

      • Yvette

        Exactly! She knows she has to play the game in order to get where she wants to be in the entertainment industry. Playing the game doesn’t mean losing yourself and becoming a puppet (which is how I think Monique looks at it), it simply means that when you are working on a project you have to be willing to show up on set and do the work AND travel to promote the project.

        • Libera_Free

          I agree

        • Toya

          Acting is just like any other job. Yes it’s more high profile than most, but at the end of the day it’s a job. You have to show up and work hard. You take on the “culture” of the organization you work for, but you still remain yourself and can keep your integrity. If you act a fool at your job, then you get fired or you get a bad reputation if you work in an industry like I do (hospitality) where people are all connected. I act like I like the people I work with, but when I go home I shake it off like a loose garment and keep it moving.

          • Yvette

            Same here Toya. Soon as I leave work, I leave it all right there until I come back the next day. You can’t take that craziness home with you.

        • cassanova1974

          Right. Monique definitely is looking at this differently

      • Libera_Free

        You are right, I think the “attitude” just puts the icing on the cake if you are already not willing to do what’s needed. We all play the game if that’s what you want to call it, when you are dealing with moving along in your profession. Not loosing yourself, but conducting yourself in a manner that shows your talent and being a go getter. Hollywood is all about marketing, if you don’t market your skill you get pushed aside…as we see right now with her.

      • uniquefashionista

        Yeah, you’re right. She did have the late night talk show, but it didn’t last long.

      • sha

        Just wait a minute on that note – I heard something this week that she is not being seen as much and possibly leaving. She made a statement that she had not been fired but also did not dispute what was said. I smell something brewing around her and her weight with Lee Daniels and his powers that be. I am not so sure about him.

        • Lee

          After watching the show I had a feeling her days were numbered. What is probably going to happen, the more popular Empire gets, FOX is going to do to him what they did to the K I Wayans’ show and what Comedy Central did to Chappelle and that is to try to take control and start telling him what to film, who to hire, etc.

    • Guest

      So agree. Some people will just continue to go through life blaming and pointing the finger at others, instead of accepting responsibility. She wanted to be lazy and skip the hard stuff, her choice, but you have to accept the consequences

      • Guest

        The ‘hard stuff’ is her portrayal in that movie and the fact that it was even nominated for an oscar. How many movies are made each year and never get nominated? She is not a politician. If there are games to be played, let them old crusty white men who are financing & greenlighting the movies, do it. They all know and are probably screwing each other anyway. Probably a foregone conclusion who is going to win. The awards show is just pageantry.

  • sha

    WOW! That is a real shame! What about Tyler and other blacks with their own movie productions, etc. Are those just fronts for the real Hollywood bosses?! She is not the only difficult actress or celebrity. Hollyweird never ceases to amaze me!

    • Lee

      Lord knows she is not the only one, but she may be one of the very few of color. You know crackers don’t like us if we’re not grateful. 🙂

  • Guest

    Wow! Can someone say illimunaty? Lol!

    • John Taber

      Illuminati .

      • Markitha

        kmsl

    • Guest

      Punk ass..in more than one way, it appears. Just goes to show that these black people who supposedly have so much power in hollyweird ain’t really got much. If massa tell them what nigras to pick cotton, guess they gotta do what massa say? I really don’t understand why black people bother with that place (besides the fame & money. lol)..go to nollywood and alternative routes..Africa is on the come up. Meanwhile, Empire is buffoon central and Danny Glover STILL can’t get funding for a movie about the Haitian revolution. Pitiful. That’s why I watch movies for FREE at solar movies dot is or put locker dot is. They will get none of my money. None.

      • sha

        I totally agree, I am not so sure about what is portrayed in Empire. While it is entertaining to watch I think it feeds into some stereotypes that we will complain about later after the hype is over.

        • Libera_Free

          I watched the first episode of Empire, and I couldn’t stomach another one. I made a comment on my FB page, stating the same thing. I think it does feed into some stereotypes and if there is any substance to the show, it gets lost behind the foolishness.

          I don’t watch it….

        • Guest1

          I’ve never watched it and won’t ever. If Hollyweird is hyping it, you can bet it ain’t portraying us as anything but more of the same: hyper sexed, hyper ghetto, hyper criminal, hyper pathological, hyper violent or hyper docile. Or hyper brainwashed & just a chocolate covered version of their pathologies. If there were balanced view of us in tv/movies, then I could see it, but there never is. Or rarely. How many people missed out on The Book of Negroes (which was a beautiful love story in a horrible time) but opt to tune into Empire to see what I’m speculating is nothing but one long continuous stereotype from beginning to end?