Last week, Steve Harvey sat down with friend and fellow comedian Mo’Nique on his talk show to discuss her being blackballed from Hollywood, and the famous people she claims sat back and unfairly allowed it to happen. To say it was a passionate discussion would be an understatement. Mo’Nique maintained that she has been outspoken because the same people who told her she hadn’t been “difficult” behind closed doors wouldn’t speak up and come to her defense publicly. But Harvey told the 51-year-old that she and husband Sidney Hicks had gone about things all wrong. For the sake of her family, he felt she should have played nice and forgone risking it all “to make a statement.”
“If I crumble, my children crumble, my grandchildren crumble,” the 62-year-old talk show host told her. “I can not for the sake of my integrity, stand up here, and let everybody that’s counting on me, crumble, so that I can make a statement. There are ways to win the war in a different way.”
Harvey’s words were met with a lot of criticism on social media. And even though Mo’Nique hugged her “brother” after their heated debate, she too had some thoughts on him valuing money over principle, which she shared on social media.
Looking back over the whole conversation since then, Harvey told PEOPLE on Sunday at a Celebrity Family Feud event in LA that he admittedly has some regrets about how things went.
“I’ve got to slow down when I’m talking,” he said. “I can’t get into heated discussions, and I’ve got to just guard my words more carefully.”
For the record, Harvey wants everyone to know that he’s always been a man of integrity. He was just saying that Mo’Nique and her husband could have gone about the way they’ve handled things differently.
“I take full responsibility for it, it came out my mouth, so I can’t say that I didn’t say it,” he said. “But to people that really know me, I have lived my whole life as a man of integrity. So when I was referring to ‘integrity’ in that interview, I was talking about the method in which things were being done, and that is all it was.”
According to him, that method included getting on stage and telling Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels that they could suck the penis she doesn’t have.
“I never questioned anybody’s principles or anybody’s causes,” he added. “I was merely questioning, for the 50-minute interview, the method that she chose going about doing it — and I regret that looking back at it now, because that was a bad choice of words.”
Still, he doesn’t want anyone, especially the young people who take part in his Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp, to be disappointed with him.
“I shouted out and it happened, I regret it, but I want young people, the kids that come to my camps, the young people that I mentor, the fans that really respect me, to know to just charge that one to my head and not to my heart,” Harvey said. “Because in my heart, that is not what I have asked anyone to do. I have lived my whole life as a man of integrity, and I will stand on that, but I was really just talking about the method that they went about doing what they did, and that was it.”