Mo’Nique, an Oscar-award-winner and comedian, filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Netflix, on the grounds that they had committed racial and gender discrimination against her.
The streaming service reportedly offered Mo’Nique $500,000 for a Netflix Original comedy special, which was a noticeably lower figure than the millions of dollars offered to her fellow comedians.
“[The offer] perpetuated the pay gap suffered by black women.”
In the lawsuit filed on Thursday, it read:
“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.”
Netflix has stated that they intend to fight the lawsuit.
A spokesperson for Netflix stated:
“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.”
Prior to filing the lawsuit, Mo’Nique made the news when she called out Netflix publicly.
Mo’Nique shared her disappointment in Netflix, stating:
“[Netflix offered me] a lowball offer that was only a fraction of what Netflix paid other (non-black female) comedians.”
Mo’Nique also called out comedian Amy Schumer, hoping she would be a witness to the issue at hand.
According to Mo’Nique, Schumer was initially offered $11 million for her 2017 feature, The Leather Special, on Netflix. But when she discovered that the company paid Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle $20 million each, she and her team negotiated for more money for the special, and Netflix agreed to match the offer.
The lawsuit also stated:
“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.”
In comparison, Mo’Nique stated that Netflix has since blacklisted her in retaliation for her efforts.
After filing the lawsuit, Mo’Nique shared her experience on Instagram.
“I had a choice to make: I could accept what I felt was pay discrimination or I could stand up for those who came before me and those who will come after me. I chose to stand up.”
Fellow comedian Wanda Sykes expressed her thanks for Mo’Nique speaking out, stating that she was offered even less for her special than Mo’Nique was.
Mo’Nique’s Instagram following has been overwhelmingly supportive of her decision, as well.
Mo’Nique’s lawsuit does important work for opening up the conversation surrounding female and minority pay.
Hopefully Netflix will come to their senses and renegotiate, or at least be more mindful in the future.