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Mo’Nique says Tyler Perry took ‘Empire’ role from her (video)

Mo’Nique, like Katt Williams before her, ripped into her comedic counterparts without mercy on the popular podcast
Mo'Nique (Photo credit: Splash News)

Mo’Nique peeled the flesh off several entertainment adversaries on the “Club Shay Shay” podcast, particularly movie magnate Tyler Perry, whom she accused of robbing her of the marquee role of Cookie Lyon of the juggernaut “Empire” TV series.

Channeling her inner Katt Williams, Mo’Nique says the iconic role of Cookie Lyon that Taraji P. Henson took was offered to her first. But Mo’Nique says the Tyler Perry Studios owner told director Lee Daniels that she was “difficult” to work with and they subsequently offered the character to Henson.

This is interesting when fans consider that Daniels directed Mo’Nique in her Oscar-winning role as a diabolical and demented mother in 2008’s Precious. Perry and Oprah were listed as producers on the film, but Daniels should have been well attuned to Mo’Nique’s disposition and eccentricities from that experience.

Mo’Nique accuses Perry of being the main culprit of costing her generational wealth by spreading rumors of her penchant for pugnacity. She even unearthed old calls she recorded where Perry allegedly admitted to spreading the rumor that she was a difficult person to deal with. Sharpe listened to the calls but declined to reveal the contents on-air.

YouTube video

This is not the first time Mo’Nique broached this touchy topic. According to, the Soul Plane star first told “Sway in the Morning” radio show in 2015 that she was offered the Cookie role in an email dated 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.”

Subsequent emails, according to Mo’Nique, stated that this was a “time-sensitive matter,” and that “Lee really does not want Mo’Nique to miss this opportunity.”

Mo’Nique went on to say that Daniels was not authorized to offer her the role without the approval of studio executives, which they quickly nixed.

“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,” the final email read. “Thank you so much for providing us with her information. Sorry it didn’t work out.”

Perry has yet to respond to the latest accusations levied by Mo’Nique
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