Mo’Nique files racial and gender discrimination suit against Netflix

Mo'Nique on Watch What Happens

Mo’Nique is taking her beef with Netflix to the courts.

The Oscar-winning actress filed a lawsuit against the streaming giant for racial and gender discrimination over a contract negotiation that went sour.

In early 2018 Mo’Nique went public with details of a $500,000 offer Netflix allegedly made to her for an hour-long stand-up comedy special. The comedy legend took exception to the offer with the realization that other comic had garnered multi-million-dollar paydays for their stand-up specials. Spelled out in the lawsuit is what Mo’Nique claims is a perpetuation of a pay gap where black women are paid less than men and white women. According to Mo’Nique, the $500,000 offer from Netflix was 40 times less than what it offered Dave Chapelle, Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock, and Ellen DeGeneres, and 26 times less than what was offered to Amy Schumer. In Schumer’s case, Mo’Nique shared that Schumer was initially offered $11 million for her 2017 special, The Leather Special, but after finding out how much Netflix paid Chappelle and Rock (around $20 million each), Schumer renegotiated her deal for more money.

The lawsuit states, “Mo’Nique objected to Netflix’s discriminatory pay offer, pointed out how it was discriminatory and asked Netflix to do the right thing by negotiating fair pay with her. In response, Netflix did the opposite. It dug its heels in the ground, refused to negotiate fairly and stood behind its discriminatory offer.

“In stark contrast, when a white female comedian objected to her offer (given how much lower it was than comparable males), Netflix reconsidered and upped her offer.”

Schumer did respond to Mo’Nique’s allegations, writing on Instagram, “Hot dog dog. Thanks for chiming in on what you feel I deserve to be paid. I believe women deserve equal pay. However I don’t believe I deserve equal pay to Chris and Dave. They are legends and 2 of the greatest comics of all time. I would like to say that I have been selling out arenas these last couple years. Something a female comic has never done. That’s a big deal to me, especially because I know I do my best every night on stage for the audience and they have a good time. I didn’t ask for the same as my friends. I did ask for more than the initial offer. I will continue to work my ass off and be the best performer I can be. The reports of me “demanding” or “insisting” on equal pay to them aren’t a true.”

In response, Netflix released a statement, telling The Wrap, “We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously. We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”

The lawsuit also calls out Netflix’s “historically lacked racial diversity” on it’d Board of Directors. And racial abuse on the set of House of Cards, with the show’s star, Kevin Spacey allegedly calling black security the n-word.

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