The Steve host invited his old friend and fellow comedian to the show discuss how her career declined after, she claims, she was blackballed by the director of Precious , Lee Daniels, and by others — and how all this had hurt their friendship. Mo’Nique, who won an Oscar for Precious, prefaced the exchange as a “conversation between a brother and sister that needs to be fearless.”
After mentioning her Las Vegas residency, she talked about being blackballed in Hollywood and being labeled “difficult,” explaining that she felt it was because she wasn’t afraid to tell Daniels, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry “no.” She also talked about her boycott of Netflix. She said her beef with Harvey was that while behind the scenes, he supported her for pushing back, he went on the air and said the opposite.
“Each one of you said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’re not wrong,’” the actress said, referring also to Daniels, Winfrey and Perry. “And when I heard you go on the air and say, ‘My sister burned too many bridges, and it’s nothing I can do for her now,’ Steve, do you know how hurt I was?”
Harvey said that his issue with Mo’Nique is that she went about it the wrong way. While he said he was “cool” with her calling out Netflix on the disparity in her pay (she said she was paid less than her male counterparts), he felt that a boycott wasn’t the way to go.
“I felt you had done yourself a disservice by the way you chose to go about it all,” Harvey replied, citing the time Mo’Nique went on stage and told Winfrey, Perry and Lee to “suck the d***” she didn’t have.
Mo’Nique made it clear that she had no regrets about her comments, and went on to say that what she “would have appreciated from my brother was had you picked up the phone before you went on the air and said, ‘Mo’nique, you’ve burned too many bridges…’ I would have appreciated it, had my brother called me up and said, ‘Baby, let’s talk.’”
At one point, Harvey said he was sorry they were arguing, and Mo’Nique shot back, “We’re not arguing. You and your sister, we’re having a conversation … and I’m getting ready to punch you in your mouth. Bam, bam.” That was as fiery as it got. She went on, “I have to understand how to agree to disagree without being upset. That’s the thing: I disagree with my brother. I’m not upset with you. I love you. I disagree with the way Oprah, Lee and Tyler did it, but I love them.”
Harvey said the way to resolve the problem would be with apologies all around. “Guess what we need to do to move forward and fix this? These people owe you an apology. You owe those people an apology. Then we could move forward.”
He added, “Mo, listen to me. You are valuable to us all. You are valuable to Tyler Perry … to Oprah, to Lee Daniels. We can’t do this without talent. See, me and you, we’re talent. They can’t do this without us. You take us out of Hollywood, they’ll have to close some doors around here. It is not the same without us. You are too valuable. I don’t want to lose your gift to the world because we’re trying to prove the point, when we can prove the point by doing in it a more loving way.”
Mo’Nique said that she always speaks from the heart, but Harvey said that if it really is from her heart, it should sound as if it is — and that’s not always the case. “If it don’t sound like it when you say it, that’s because it ain’t,” he advised.
Harvey also said he planned to facilitate conversations between Mo’Nique and “these people,” presumably Daniels, Winfrey and Perry. And he ended by apologizing, saying he should have picked up the phone. “I just want to help you, Mo,” he ended the show by saying. “I didn’t come here to bash you. … Let’s heal this thing and move forward.”
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