It looks like the proof is in the pudding. Actress Mo’Nique decided to take emails exchanged between her and Empire’s Lee Daniels on Sway in The Morning, confirming that he did offer her the role of Cookie on Empire.
According to Mo’Nique, this all came to a head when Danny Strong, another producer on the show, and Daniels’ frequent collaborator, came out to deny the claim that Daniels had offered her the role of Cookie on Empire.
The Academy Award winner told Sway, “You know when I heard Danny Strong had come on the show and was adamant about Mo’Nique was never offered that role and he’d gone on other places and said it. And I tweeted that brother and said, ‘Will you speak as loudly when you understand that you’re telling something that’s not correct?’ And it was important for me that I come on your show because as I said to you off air, I respect your opinion.”
She continued, “Danny, clear my name. Lee, clear my name. And I have no animosity towards those brothers at all and want nothing but the best. When it comes to Empire, that show is doing history, numbers, breaking records. And they deserve everything that they’re getting because Lee Daniels is one of the most brilliant visionaries that our generation has seen. Taraji P. Henson, one of the greatest actresses, baby, that our generation has seen. So for all of them, I say y’all keep going. However, this situation is about principle.”
Then, Mo’Nique handed Sway the emails to read on air.
Here’s just a taste of those emails Mo’Nique shared with Sway.
Feb 18, 2014
Lee Daniels had a conversation with Mo’Nique about his new television pilot for Imagine Tv/Fox called “Empire.” We would like to screen test her for the role of ‘Cookie.’ Please contact us with her television quotes, so that we can start a test, option, deal. We are tentatively looking at Monday, Feb 24 for the screen test.
…Unfortunately it’s not going any further for Mo’Nique. Lee fought for her because he thought she would be great for the pilot but studio and network executives insisted on offering the role to Taraji. Thank you so much for providing us with her information. Sorry it didn’t work out. We’re all big fans of hers.
As the Inquisitr reported, Danny Strong denied that Mo’Nique had any involvement in early discussions concerning Empire.
As some of you might remember, this all came about when Mo’Nique decided to pen an open letter to the Hollywood Reporter. At the time, she said that Daniels said she was blackballed from Hollywood after she failed to campaign for her Oscar for Precious. She also said that roles just seemed to disappear out of thin air. The evidence she used is that Daniels turned his back on her after offering her the lead on Empire. Additionally, Mo’Nique said she was originally offered Oprah’s role in The Butler.
Although Lee Daniels didn’t deny having a conversation with Mo’Nique, he told ET that his perspective is a bit different. “Maybe she could construe it that way. What I told her was, she asked me, ‘Why haven’t I worked?’ And I said, ‘You pissed a lot of people off. You know, you were making demands.'”
What are your thoughts on this latest development?
[Image via Lionsgate]