In 2018 Mo’Nique, an Oscar and Golden Globe winning actress, accused the streaming giant of racial and sex discrimination after Netflix offered her a low ball contract of $500,000 for a comedy special. Mo’Nique contends the offer was a fraction of what Netflix paid out to male comedians with similar levels of comedic success, and much less than female comics who’s catalogs are not as deep as hers. According to Mo’Nique, Netflix signed deals with Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock worth $20 million, while Amy Schumer was offered $11 million for her special. Mo’Nique also accused Netflix of refusing to negotiate fair pay after she pointed out the disparity in her offer.
In a statement to NPR, Mo’Nique’s attorney, David deRubertis, called Judge André Birotte Jr.’s decision, “an important victory for Hollywood talent who, just like all other workers, need protections against retaliation if they raise concerns about pay discrimination during the hiring process. Employers in the entertainment industry need to take pay discrimination concerns seriously, fix them if the concerns have merit, and never retaliate against those who have the courage to speak up about equal pay.”
Judge André Birotte Jr. called Mo’Nique’s allegations plausible, noting that, “after she spoke out and called her initial offer discriminatory, Netflix retaliated against her by shutting down its ‘standard practice of negotiating in good faith that typically results in increased monetary compensation.'”