Following a heated on-air argument with Mo’Nique on his talk show, Steve Harvey is walking back some of the more abrasive comments about integrity he directed at the 51-year-old actress.
As previously reported, things between Harvey and Mo’Nique got combative last week when they were discussing the actress’ assertion that she was “blackballed” in show business after being deemed “difficult” for not campaigning for an Oscar for her role in the 2009 film “Precious.” Despite taking home the trophy for best supporting actress, Mo’Nique claims she hasn’t been able to find real work since.
“We got labeled as ‘difficult’ because I said one word — and that was ‘no,'” Mo’Nique said. “Now I said no to some very powerful people … the difficulty came in when people that looked like me, like Oprah, Tyler, Lee Daniels and I got to put my brother Steve on the list. Y’all knew that I was not wrong. Each one of you said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’re not wrong.’ And when I heard you go on the air and said, ‘My sister burned too many bridges, and it’s nothing I can do for her now,’ Steve, do you know how hurt I was?”
Things took a turn for the worse when the actress brought up integrity and how that played a higher role to her than money. Harvey didn’t seem to agree with that for his family’s sake.
“When you tell the truth, you have to deal with the repercussions of the truth,” Harvey said to her on his show. “We black out here. We can’t come out here and do it any way we want to. Your husband can’t be the Sidney [Hicks] that he really is out here […] This is the money game. This ain’t a black man’s game, this ain’t a white man’s game. This is the money game!”
Mo’Nique immediately fired back with, “Before the money game, it’s called the integrity game and we’ve lost the integrity worried about the money.”
Harvey replied with, “If I crumble, my children crumble, my grandchildren crumble. I can not for the sake of my integrity, stand up here, and let everybody that’s counting on me, crumble so that I can make a statement. There are ways to win the war in a different way.”
Almost a week after their showdown, Harvey has finally opened up about the whole debacle admitting he needs to slow down and guard his words more carefully.
“I’ve got to slow down when I’m talking,” the 62-year-old told PEOPLE. “I can’t get into heated discussions, and I’ve got to just guard my words more carefully.”
“I take full responsibility for it, it came out my mouth, so I can’t say that I didn’t say it,” he continued. “But to people that really know me, I have lived my whole life as a man of integrity. So when I was referring to ‘integrity’ in that interview, I was talking about the method in which things were being done, and that is all it was.”
“I never questioned anybody’s principles or anybody’s causes. I was merely questioning, for the 50-minute interview, the method that she chose going about doing it—and I regret that looking back at it now, because that was a bad choice of words,” he concluded.
He went on to say he wanted his young fans to “charge that one to my head and not my heart.”
The star called his characterization of Mo’Nique that aired something he regrets looking back at it now, “because that was a bad choice of words.”