Oprah-Mo-Nique-Assault-Open-Letter Oprah-Mo-Nique-Assault-Open-Letter
Getty Images

Mo'Nique Questions Oprah's Stance Between Harvey Weinstein And Russell Simmons In Open Letter

"Please consider standing by the people who are right and not just the ‘right people."'

It's no secret that Mo'Nique and Oprah Winfrey haven't been on the best of terms. Over the years, the comedian has shared how Winfrey reportedly had a hand in derailing her career after her Oscar-winning role in the 2009 film, Precious. Mo'Nique is now speaking against the mogul in an open letter that includes Oprah's actions toward three people accused of sexual assault: the late Michael Jackson, disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and music mogul/activist Russell Simmons.

Taking to Instagram Monday (Feb. 2), the comedian questioned Oprah's "disparities" in how she reacts to the men. Citing Oprah's 2017 interview with Good Morning America's Norah O' Donell, Mo'Nique pointed to the soft "silver lining" answer she gave when it came Weinstein's long list of accusers. "You also said ‘if we make this all about Harvey Weinstein then we have lost the moment’. When you either are or were going to be a part of a documentary on Michael Jackson and Russell Simmons, how is that not making it all about them?"

Mo'Nique is referencing two things; the first being a special Oprah hosted after the release of the HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland. The other was Oprah's involvement in On The Record, a documentary that recently made rounds during Sundance which details accounts of sexual assault by Russell Simmons from those who worked with him. Slated to premiere on Apple TV+, Winfrey recently pulled her name from the documentary, citing the need for more research and interviews. Despite removing her name, Winfrey recently said she believes the women accusing Simmons of assault and was not pressured into stepping down by Simmons.

When it comes to the 2017 GMA interview, Oprah called the scandal a "watershed" moment as it went on to inspire the #MeToo movement. Mo'Nique went on to question how Oprah is handling each scandal–seemingly backing away from Weinstein and leaning into projects around Jackson and Simmons.

“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 added. “The only difference between the two is there skin color and doesn’t H.W. have way more accusers?”

Toward the end of her open letter, Mo'Nique pointed out how she's always admired the living legend until their fallout over the promotion of Precious. While the story has been told over and over again, Mo'Nique expressed how she was disappointed in how Oprah never came to her defense when she faced bullish behavior from Lee Daniels and Tyler Perry.

“My personal experience with you is you’ve watched me as a black woman be accused of being difficult for not promoting ‘Precious’ internationally for Lions Gate, at Lions Gate, Tyler Perry and your request, despite the fact my deal was with Lee Daniels Entertainment,” she said.

They say never meet your heroes and it looks like Mo'Nique is living this.

You can read her letter, in full, below.

Dear @oprah, I felt compelled to write you this open letter after observing the disparity in the way that you seem to treat people, who were accused of the same allegations. You did an interview on the CBS Morning Show and were asked about Harvey Weinstein by Norah O’Donnell, and you said as it pertained to him that you “always try to look at the Rainbow in the clouds, whatever is the “silver lining."

You also said, “if we make this all about Harvey Weinstein then we have lost the moment.” When you either are or were going to be a part of a documentary on Michael Jackson and Russell Simmons, how is that not making it all about them? Interestingly, Brother M.J. was acquitted, and deceased, so how is he not off-limits? 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.?

The only difference between the two is there skin color and doesn’t H.W. have way more accusers? My personal experience with you is you’ve watched me as a black woman be accused of being difficult for not promoting “Precious” internationally for Lions Gate, at Lions Gate, Tyler Perry and your request, despite the fact my deal was with Lee Daniels Entertainment. And, how are you for black women when you hear Tyler on audio saying I was right and he was going to speak up but you or him still haven’t said a word?

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”. Lastly, please consider standing by the people who are right and not just the “right people."

Love you to life,

Mo’Nique

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Will Smith Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of ‘Bad Boys’

Will Smith celebrated the 25-year anniversary of Bad Boys on Tuesday (April 7) with a special shout out to his co-star, Martin Lawrence, and the film’s director, Michael Bey, and producer, Jerry Bruckheimer.

“Today is 25 years since the first ‘Bad Boys’ came out!!! We really putting this ‘for life’ thing to the test,” Smith captioned a video of him and Lawrence promoting the film in 1995 along with their recent Bad Boys for Life promo run.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Today is 25 years since the first @badboys came out!! We really putting this “for life” thing to the test @martinlawrence 🙂 @michaelbay @jerrybruckheimer

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:03pm PDT

The first Bad Boys film was a box office hit raking in more than $140 million. The 2003 sequel nearly doubled the numbers of its predecessor.

Lawrence and Smith reprised their roles as detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Barnett in Bad Boys for Life, which grossed $425 million worldwide.

Speaking to VIBE during the film’s premier in January, the duo revealed the secret to maintaining a flow on screen after all these years. “A great deal of respect and love for each other,” said Lawrence.

Smith noted that their friendship contributes to why they work so well together. “You can’t really love somebody you don’t understand. If you don’t known what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, if you don’t understand what somebody needs, you can’t really love them and that’s what I was noticing about the two of us, we just understand each other.”

Watch the full interview below.

 

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Barack Obama Marks World Health Day With A Message For Healthcare Workers

In honor of World Health Day on Tuesday (April 7), former President Barack Obama sent out a message of gratitude to health care workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to all our medical professionals,” tweeted the onetime commander in chief. “They’re still giving their all for us every day, at great risk to themselves and we can’t thank them enough for their brevity and their service.”

It’s World Health Day, and we owe a profound debt of gratitude to all our medical professionals. They’re still giving their all for us every day, at great risk to themselves, and we can’t thank them enough for their bravery and their service.

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 7, 2020

With more than 18 million workers across the U.S., healthcare remains the fastest growing industry in the U.S. economy. Many healthcare professionals remain on the front lines caring for patients battling coronavirus, despite facing an increased risk of catching the viral disease due to a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The American Hospital Association launched a campaign to secure 1 million masks for health care workers, including doctors, nurses and caregivers of COVID-19 patients. “Our health care heroes on the front lines have an immediate need for personal protective equipment and we have to push on all cylinders to get these items produced and into the field,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack.

The AHA is one of many efforts to get PPE to workers in need. McDonalds vowed to donate 1 million N95 masks to health care workers in Chicago, Apple announced a donation of 10 million masks to the medical community, Nordstrom has commissioned its tailors to sew masks, and Nike is making full face-shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect healthcare workers against COVID-19.

NBA legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, donated 900 pairs of goggles to health care professionals in Southern California, Future and his The FreeWishes Foundation are also donating masks to hospital workers. A school in Baltimore City donated over 150 gloves and masks to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and a multiple Brooklyn schools banded together to donate gloves, goggles and hand sanitizer to local hospitals in desperate need of supplies.

Continue Reading
A woman wearing a protective mask is seen in Union Square on March 9, 2020 in New York City. There are now 20 confirmed coronavirus cases in the city including a 7-year-old girl in the Bronx.
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

African-Americans Are At A Greater Risk To Contract Coronavirus

Racial disparities in coronavirus deaths are now coming to light due to the overwhelming amount of African-Americans dying from COVID-19.

Weeks after warnings from lawmakers and health officials, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams confirmed Tuesday (April 7) that African-Americans were at greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. "I and many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID, which is why we need everyone to do their part to slow the spread,” he said. Adams explained that Black Americans with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are more prone to having the virus in addition to lack of access to proper health care.

In an op-ed for The New York Times titled "The Racial Time Bomb in the Covid-19 Crisis," Charles M. Blow compared the growing concern to the early days of the H.I.V./AIDS crisis affecting people of color. "On some level, H.I.V. is ravaging the South because Southern states have made a policy decision not to care in a sufficient way because the people suffering are poor and black," he said while pointing out the stark similarities in how both life-changing moments haven't provided the demographic with the right resources.

Numbers between race and ethnicity for the virus are limited but Stat News reports Black people in Illinois, made up 29% of confirmed cases and 41% of deaths as of Monday morning, but only make up 15% of the state’s population. ProPublica also points out how Black people make up nearly half of the 941 cases in Milwaukee County and 81% of its 27 deaths–but the population is 26% African-American.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention distributes data on age, gender, and location of COVID-19 patients but not their race or ethnicity. On Tuesday, CDC spokesman Scott Pauley responded to the data about race and ethnicity around the coronavirus. “Unfortunately, case report forms are often missing important data, including race and ethnicity," he said. "To address this and other data gaps, supplementary surveillance systems are being stood up to better capture ethnicity and race data, as well as other key demographic or clinical information.”

In a letter written by Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren with  Ayanna Pressley and Robin L. Kelly to Health and Human Services (HHS), the group called for the correct information to avoid the gap from getting larger.

“The C.D.C. is currently failing to collect and publicly report on the racial and ethnic demographic information of patients tested for and affected by Covid-19," the letter reads. "Our concerns echo those from some physicians: that decisions to test individuals for the novel coronavirus may be ‘more vulnerable to the implicit biases that every patient and medical professional carry around with them,’ potentially causing ‘black communities and other underserved groups … [to] disproportionately mis[s] out on getting tested for Covid-19. Although Covid-19 does not discriminate along racial or ethnic lines, existing racial disparities and inequities in health outcomes and health care access may mean that the nation’s response to preventing and mitigating its harms will not be felt equally in every community.”

It was also announced New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Melissa DeRosa, the top aide for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, promised to release data that reflects ethnicity and race as well. But as DeRosa revealed, hospitals in the Albany area haven't reported on the race of COVID-19 victims.

“The hospitals actually don’t report the race information directly to the state,” said DeRosa via The New York Post. “So what we end up doing on the back-end is calling the coroners’ offices around the state, after the death has been reported, so there has been a lag.“We understand people want that information. We want that information, too.”

Continue Reading

Top Stories