Actress and comedian Mo’Nique recently took to Instagram to offer a criticism of Oprah Winfrey. Mo’Nique claims that Winfrey is mishandling public statements on accused perpetrators of sexual assault. She states that Winfrey is misusing her influence and exercising racial bias in who she chooses to publicly condemn for sexual misconduct by citing a disparity between the way Winfrey has dealt with questions about Harvey Weinstein in contrast to the way Winfrey has dealt with accusations leveled at Michael Jackson and Russell Simmons.
In the wake of Winfrey’s interview with Michael Jackson’s accusers and her involvement in the Russell Simmons sexual assault documentary, Mo’Nique claims that Winfrey is unfairly focusing on black individuals accused of sexual assault while seemingly turning a blind eye to white individuals such as Harvey Weinstein.
“Russell and Harvey are accused of the same thing so in fairness how do you not “support” the accusers of both as you said you did with R.S. or you look for the silver lining for both like you said you did for H.W.?,” Mo’Nique writes, “the only difference between the two is there skin color and doesn’t H.W. have way more accusers?”
Mo’Nique concludes her letter of criticism by accusing Winfrey of mistreating her in business matters. Mo’Nique claims that Winfrey refused to stand up for her when she fought with Lion’s Gate studios over the international promotion of Precious and says that Winfrey’s “silence” has negatively impacted her career.
Mo’Nique writes: “When I was sixteen and I meet you at your local show in Baltimore, I told you I wanted to be just like you when I grew up. You responded, “ you have to work really really hard”. My sixteen year old self didn’t know that you in your silence in the face of wrongdoing, would make my life “harder”.”
Winfrey was a producer and major promoter of Precious, the 2009 drama which saw Mo’Nique receive an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Mo’Nique and Winfrey’s relationship was believed to have deteriorated in part because of Mo’Nique’s refusal to perform extra-contractual promotion for Precious overseas at the Cannes Film Festival. Mo’Nique has spoken out several times against Winfrey over the past few years and has previously accused Winfrey, along with Precious director Lee Daniels, of conspiring to “blackball” her from the film industry.
Mo’Nique recently began a lawsuit with Netflix over “gender bias and color bias”. She has spoken out several times against the streaming service and is currently engaged in a boycott against them.
Winfrey is currently facing criticism for her departure from the Russell Simmons documentary On The Record, which deprived the film of distribution a few weeks before its premiere. Winfrey’s decision to leave the film is described as “creative”, with Winfrey purportedly dissatisfied with a lack of context provided in the film.