In an interview with Variety, the star of Precious more or less did exactly what Patricia Arquette did not do during her 2015 speech for her Academy Award win. Rather than answer any questions about her relationship with former director Lee Daniels, the actress, who is not even about watching an awards show that is whiter than the half-coagulated mayonnaise your roommate left unopened in the fridge, is a lot more concerned with the fact that she has accolades and still can’t get a decent paycheck. And if white women think they’re getting paltry sums on the reg, what kind of piecemeal do they think crops up on one of her direct deposit bank statements as a female person of color?
In the interview, Mo’Nique has no qualms about sharing the amount she got for filming Precious—only $50,000—and it’s difficult to justify, as she goes on to infer, how POC actresses shouldn’t be “given the information” to “negotiate fairly” for hard-earned cash, especially when the discussion on equal pay is solely lead by white women in her industry.
“Anytime you hear Patricia Arquette and Gwyneth Paltrow, when you hear those white women say, “We’re not getting equal wages.” Well if they are saying it, what do you think we’re getting?”
Eventually, this leads to her thoughts on #OscarsBeStupid because #OscarsSoWhite.
“To focus on a trophy, we totally miss the point. Let’s have a real and open conversation. That’s when change will happen in Hollywood. To ask me about a trophy is really irrelevant. It’s just a trophy. But why is there such a pay gap? If there’s a black film coming out and it’s an all-black cast, why is it that it’s a low-budget film?”
“That seems outrageous,” replies her interviewer.
And because yes, she retorts: “Does it seem outrageous? Or is it outrageous?”
Later on, Mo’Nique flatly reveals that nope, as an award winning industry professional who happens to be black, she’s never gotten a paycheck equal to any male actor she’s ever worked with, white or otherwise. Even worse is that the directors who offer her parts are subject to the same (misogynist) machinations of Hollywood. They just “want to work” too, like Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins director Malcolm Lee.
“No. There’s never been a time that I’m aware of, that my paycheck was equal in the entertainment industry, in Hollywood. When you get a telephone call from directors like Malcolm Lee and he makes me an offer to do a movie that’s far less than I made a decade ago when I worked with him on Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, and my husband says, ‘How do you make that type of offer when she made more money then?” His reply was: ‘I know it’s not right. I just want to work.’”
Towards the end, the reporter asks her who exactly made the rest of the money off of a movie that only cost $10 million and grossed $54 million in the U.S. (or $47.5 million—the article lists both), and the underlying bitterness is painful and palpable: “Someone did, my love. Can you please call them and ask them where it is?”
Fuck the Oscars. Mo’Nique (and anyone who isn’t a white cis dude in Hollywood) needs their fucking money, now.
Images via Getty.
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