First blackballed (or not blackballed) actress Mo’Nique alleged she was offered a spot on the FOX hit “Empire” that never came through. Then she claimed that part that didn’t come through was that of the show’s quote-worthy matriarch Cookie Lyon, played by Taraji P. Henson. Then “Empire” co-creator Danny Strong jumped in the fray, pushing back on Twitter against Mo’Nique’s claims, saying it was always all about Henson as Cookie. Then Mo’Nique’s “Precious” co-star Gabourey Sidbe subtweeted at the Oscar winner, saying it was a shame “selfishness and lies” now surround their work on the Lee Daniels film.
All this back-and-forth is enough for the casting director who brought most of these actors together. Lee Daniel’s sister (and the casting director of “Empire” and many of his films), Leah Daniels Butler, wants to ditch the sideshow and get back to who’s really responsible for making her brother’s show the smash hit that it is.
“Rather than focus on who is not on ‘Empire’ we should be celebrating the actors who are doing amazing work week after week,” Daniels Butler said in a press release. “Fans are in love with Cookie and Lucious because the actors who give life to the characters they portray are delivering award winning performances.”
“There so many wonderful people that help make this show a #1, like the fantastic job Jussie Smollet (Jamal Lyons) is doing, and I cannot say enough about Kaitlin Doubleday (Rhonda Lyons) who had the unique challenge of filling a diversity role and does it seamlessly,” she added. “Why not celebrate those people?”
What do you think of all the back-and-forth between Mo’Nique and #TeamEmpire? Is it sour grapes? An incredible media strategy by the actress to use the show to boost her career? Let us know in the comments!