By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published February 14, 2019
The interview began with Mo’Nique tackling the characterization that she is “difficult” to work with, which she says began in 2009 when she refused producers Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels' requests to promote their film “Precious,” which Mo’Nique went on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for.
She added Harvey to her “list” of those who did her wrong.
“Y’all knew I was not wrong. Each one of you said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’re not wrong. And when I heard you go on the air and said, ‘My sister had burnt too many bridges and there’s nothing I could do for her now,’ Steve, do you know how hurt I was?” Mo’Nique asked.
Harvey responded by telling his comedy colleague she “went about it wrong” and how she did a “disservice” to herself, pointing to her boycott of Netflix after she was offered a lower figure for a standup special versus other comedians, describing the dispute as “rich people problems.”
Mo’Nique pushed back, calling it an issue of “inequality.”
“Inequality is devastating and it’s extreme. And when people said, ‘Mo’Nique, do you think calling a boycott was extreme,’ you’re damn right. But isn’t inequality extreme? So we’ve got to get to a place where we’re unafraid to say it out loud,” she argued.
The Oscar-winner told Harvey that she wished he could have called her before making his remarks on his radio show, something he later expressed he regretted.
Harvey then invoked what he thought were problematic remarks when she told Winfrey, Perry, and Daniels to “suck my d---” during her standup in 2017.
“We can’t cure darkness with more darkness,” Harvey said.
This is the money game. This ain’t the black man’s game, this ain’t the white man’s game. This is the money game
“What we can do is cure it with comedy. And what I’m not going to do, Steve, I’m never, ever gonna waver from my comedy show on that stage. That’s my gift and that’s my freedom. And what happens is when you allow people to start taking your freedom and your gift and making it become what makes them comfortable, we then lose,” Mo’Nique replied. “When you called me with the morning show on the phone, I said to you, ‘Steve, my family is suffering, is behind this and y’all know I did nothing wrong. Y’all know that my husband did nothing wrong. But none of y’all in real time, in real time, were strong enough to go publically and say ‘we can’t throw our sister under the bus.’”
“Because Mo, listen to me, we’re fighting two wars here,” Harvey quickly reacted. “There’s two wars, it’s what your issue is and is what the perception of the issue is.”
“All of you said privately, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong,’” Mo’Nique told the audience.
“When you tell the truth, you have to deal with the repercussions of the truth. We black out here. We can’t come out here and do it any kind of way we want to,” Harvey exclaimed. “This is the money game. This ain’t the black man’s game, this ain’t the white man’s game. This is the money game. And you cannot sacrifice yourself. The best thing you can do for poor people is not be one of them.”
Mo’Nique shot back, saying “before the money game is the integrity game.” Harvey rejected her argument.
“If I crumble, my children crumble, my grandchildren crumble. I cannot, for the sake of my integrity, stand up here and let everybody that’s counting on me crumble so I can make a statement. There are ways to win the war in a different way,” Harvey told Mo’Nique.
Harvey was widely criticized on social media for choosing money over integrity.
According to her IMDB page, Mo’Nique has only added five credits to her resume since winning her Academy Award, the most recent from a film in 2016.