02/26/2015 05:19 pm ET Updated Mar 04, 2015

Lee Daniels On Mo'Nique Being 'Blackballed' In Hollywood: 'You Gotta Play Ball' (VIDEO)

Mo’Nique caused quite a stir recently after publicly claiming that director Lee Daniels said she had been "blackballed" in Hollywood since winning her 2010 Oscar for her role in “Precious.”

Her claims have since prompted legendary actress Sheryl Lee Ralph to share her own harsh words of advice -- and also ultimately led to a response from Daniels himself.

The “Empire” director, who previously released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter in response to the comedienne’s comments, went on to clarify Wednesday during an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon that what she claimed wasn't exactly what he told the actress.

“I didn’t say that exactly…We were out on the campaign and she was making unreasonable demands…and this is where reverse racism, I think, happens,” Daniels admitted. “I said, ‘You have to thank the producers of the film, you have to thank the studio,’ and I think she didn’t understand that. And I said, ‘Listen, people aren’t going to respond well if you don’t.”

“I love her, and I’ve spoken to her. And she’s brilliant, and I like working with brilliant people. But sometimes artists get in their own way — I know I certainly do often, I have my own demons that I get in front of myself…I think there were demands that were made from her on the ‘Precious’ campaign, that everyone knows about, that hurt her. And I told her that.”

As for his advice to Mo’Nique moving forward on how to improve her chances of thriving in Hollywood, Daniels simply said, “you gotta play ball” when it comes to sustaining a career in the film business.

“This is not just show. It’s show-business and you gotta play ball. I don’t like calling the race card. I don’t believe in it, because if I buy into it then it becomes, ‘real.’ If I knew what I knew when I was 21, I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now.”

Check out more of Lee Daniels’ thoughts on Mo’Nique in the clip above.



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