Mo’Nique knows what it’s like to be blackballed in Hollywood, she says. For that reason, speaking out in support of friends is paramount to the actress and comedian, she explained in a recent interview.
Which is why Mo’Nique has offered her full-throated support for Roseanne Barr, who lost her ABC sitcom earlier this year after firing off a racist tweet about Barack Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett. Mo’Nique spoke at length about her friendship with Roseanne with KTLA (h/t Okayplayer) last Friday, as well as delving into other experiences Mo’Nique has encountered with racism, sexism, and exclusion in Hollywood.
“Roseanne Barr is my sister in comedy, and she’s my universal sister,” Mo’Nique said about the disgraced comedian. “And what I won’t do, Sam, is throw her away for making a mistake,” she added, addressing the KTLA anchor.
Mo’Nique then described how Barr was willing to come on her late-night talk show, The Monique Show back in the day—no small favor, she says, since a lot of prominent black stars were unwilling to appear because their white agents cautioned them the show was “too black.”
“That woman, when we called, it wasn’t a question,” Mo’Nique said about Barr, adding that Barr imparted “some beautiful words” to her when the cameras weren’t rolling.
“She said, ‘Mo’Nique, I’m a tell you right now, baby. They’re going to consider you difficult. They’re going to call you the b-word. Because you’re a woman who won’t lay down and take that foolishness,’” Mo’Nique recalled.
“Yes, my sister made a mistake. And she said something that I know she wishes she could take back. But what I would ask is that we don’t throw her away,” Mo’Nique pleaded. “The consequence is what the consequence is. But I know what it is, Sam, to be thrown away based off of a lie.”
In May, Barr wrote that Jarrett (“referring to her as VJ”) was the product of “The Muslim Brotherhood + Planet of the Apes.” In the months following the tweet (which has been deleted) and the fallout, Barr has apologized for the comment and tried to explain it. She’s referred to the Planet of the Apes reference as a critique of Jarrett’s “anti-Semitic” policies and claimed that she thought Jarrett was white.
It was far from Roseanne’s first racist tweet though. As Vox and other outlets have reported, the comedian, who says she will now be producing her own show on her YouTube channel, has made many offensive statements before. Among her greatest hits: a tweet about “Islamic rape pedo culture” (Roseanne, who’s Jewish, has displayed virulent and dangerous Islamophobia on more than one occasion) and calling former National Security Adviser Susan Rice (another black woman) “a man with big swinging ape balls.”
On Sean Hannity’s Fox News show last week, Barr called the tweet “ill-worded” and said she didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
“I‘m sorry that you feel harm and hurt, I never meant that,” Barr said about Jarrett. Days earlier, she had referred to Jarrett as “the bitch” in a YouTube rant discussing the tweet once again.
“I thought the bitch was white!” She shouted at the camera.
Still, Mo’Nique made it abundantly clear she’s standing by her friend.
“I love you. I know you made a mistake. I know you messed up,” she said addressing Barr directly.
“But I still won’t throw you away. I won’t put you on the ‘racist’ list and say, ‘Oh, never again.’ That is my sister,” she said, adding that these are the moments “that really count.”