Actress Mo'Nique suing Netflix for race, gender discrimination (filed Nov 14, 2019)

Actress Mo'Nique suing Netflix for race, gender discrimination
The lawsuit claims Mo’Nique was "given a low-ball offer that was only a fraction of what Netflix paid other comedians."



LOS ANGELES — Oscar-winning actress and comedian Mo'Nique sued Netflix on Thursday, accusing the streaming giant of racial and gender discrimination by trying to drastically underpay her for a stand-up special after offering other stars tens of millions of dollars.

The suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses Netflix of giving a “biased, discriminatory” offer to Mo'Nique for a one-hour comedy special around November 2017.

In the 39-page filing, Mo’Nique calls out everyone from the top executives of the Netflix management team to highlighting the gender wage gap and lack of diversity in Hollywood.

“Despite Mo’Nique’s extensive résumé and documented history of comedic success, when Netflix presented her with an offer of employment for an exclusive stand-up comedy special, Netflix made a lowball offer that was only a fraction of what Netflix paid other (non-Black female) comedians,” according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and was filed on her behalf by attorneys at the deRubertis Law Firm, APC and Schimmel & Parks, APLC.

The comedian was offered $500,000 as a “talent fee,” an offer the lawsuit claims was significantly less than those offered to men and white women for the same type of stand-up original specials.

“When the talent was not a Black woman, Netflix offered to pay, and did pay, astronomically more than it pays to Black women like it offered to Mo'Nique,” the lawsuit said.

In a statemented posted on Instagram, Mo'Nique said Thursday she 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," she said.


A Netflix spokesperson did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment. They have previously declined to address Mo'Nique's complaints, saying "Netflix does not comment on contract negotiations."

The suit said Netflix reportedly signed a $100 million deal in 2017 with comedian Jerry Seinfeld for two stand-up specials and an interview series. It also said Netflix reportedly signed a deal with comedian Dave Chapelle in 2016 worth $60 million in 2016 for three specials.

Chris Rock was reportedly offered a $40 million deal with Netflix in 2016 for two specials, the lawsuit said, and Ricky Gervais was reportedly also offered $40 million for a two-show deal around 2016.

The lawsuit goes on to allege Netflix initially offered comedian Amy Schumer $11 million in 2017 for an hourlong special and that she was able to negotiate an increase to $13 million over the offers made to Chapelle and Rock.

“Thus, Netflix reportedly offered or paid Rock, Chapelle, Degeneris, and Gervais forty (40) times more per show than it offered Mo’Nique, and it offered Schumer twenty-six (26) times more per show than Mo’Nique,” the lawsuit said. “In short, Netflix’s offer to Mo’Nique perpetuates the drastic wage gap forced upon Black women in America’s workforce.”

The lawsuit claims that Netflix lacked diversity in its leadership and reportedly turned a blind eye or did not act quickly enough when a senior executive and an actor in a series used racist language.

The filing claims Netflix’s Board of Directors has “historically lacked racial diversity and, instead, has been white-only for years. For years, the Board lacked even one Black member — let alone, a Black female” and highlights “in 2018 and 2019 respectively, Netflix reported that only 4% and 6% of its workforce being comprised of Black employees. In other words, while its senior management specifically lacks racial diversity, Netflix’s workforce generally also underrepresents Black workers compared to the general population.”

Netflix reportedly allowed actor Kevin Spacey to repeatedly make racist remarks, including using the N-word, while he worked on its series “House of Cards,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit also claims that in early 2018, Netflix’s then Chief Communications Officer Jonathan Friedland used the N-word in a meeting. Multiple employees reportedly complained, according to the lawsuit, which led to Friedland apologizing.

Later, Friedland reportedly met with black human resources employees and used the N-word again in retelling the incident, according to the lawsuit. Months later, Friedland allegedly was invited to speak in front of black employees and did not apologize for his remark.

It was only after that that Netflix fired Friedland and acknowledged he “showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity,” according to the suit.

Last year, Mo'Nique spoke out about the $500,000 offer she received and called for people to boycott Netflix “for gender and color bias.”

“Netflix is one of Hollywood’s most innovative companies, yet it not only perpetuates racial and gender inequality, it also takes advantage of a gender pay gap that disproportionately affects black women,” said Mo’Nique’s lawyer, Michael W. Parks. “When Mo’Nique, one of the most well-known black female comedians in America, faced that anachronistic attitude, she knew it was time to challenge the status quo.”

David M. deRubertis, who also represents Mo'Nique, said, “In recent years, the spotlight has appropriately shined on the gender pay inequities that continue to plague the American workforce. By this lawsuit, Mo’Nique is taking a stand against the most severe pay gap of all: the pay gap experienced by black women in the American workforce.”

After Mo'Nique came forward, fellow comedian Wanda Sykes also said she had been “offended” by a previous low offer from Netflix, which she rejected.

Sykes went on to later have a comedy special with the streaming service.

When asked at a conference earlier this year what made the difference this time around, Sykes said, “They moved that comma.”

The filing highlighted the gender pay disparity between actors Claire Foy and Matt Smith on the Netflix series "The Crown," where it was revealed Foy was being paid significantly less than her counterpart on the show, which later prompted an apology from show producers.

Earlier this year, Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos told the Makers Conference in California that the controversy over the pay disparity led the company to review talent salaries in its original and third-party series and make some pay adjustments, according to Deadline.

"What it did for us is, it had us go back and look at all of our productions and all of our productions that were being run by third parties, to make sure none of those disparities existed," he said at the time.
 
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Comments

kirkout

DCPG
BGOL Investor
I don’t see how this will help her cause especially because others have already came behind her. *no pun intended*. She needs to stop focusing her energy on this and move forward with other projects. She has made a lot of enemies because of her bitterness. I know she doesn’t think she is bitter but that’s what it looks like. She could’ve easily flipped that $500,000 into other ventures and used it as a reintroduction. Yet she is focusing on the short money. In life sometimes we to take a pay hit when we experience a fall, but are trying to rebound. She doesn’t see it that way though because she is still living in her past works and some of the wider audiences (white) don’t know about her work. If you want to show the Netflix you’re more valuable than the white girl they gave way more money to prove it. Don’t try to sue your win into a win. This isn’t that fight.
 

xxxbishopxxx

Rising Star
BGOL Investor
I will wait to see what the official filling says. Who knows, maybe she has a smoking gun or she has a good reason to believe they will give her a descent settlement. Of course i am going to laugh my ass off, if her settlement ends up being close to what she would have gotten if she did the special.
 

TEN

Tensei - Admin
Staff member
Im really beginning to think an oscar really fucks up a good actor's shit

then again, I never even got to see her in a plethora of roles to even know if she really has chops.
I only know she was really great in precious.

damn shame..but good luck to her! and her captain save the comedy-hoes, effort.
 

yaBoi

X-pert Professional
BGOL Investor
I will wait to see what the official filling says. Who knows, maybe she has a smoking gun or she has a good reason to believe they will give her a descent settlement. Of course i am going to laugh my ass off, if her settlement ends up being close to what she would have gotten if she did the special.
i wouldn't settle with her

she ain't no Netflix employee. how she gone sue for that.. they offered her a contract for what they thought she was worth.

the judge is going to throw that shit out
 
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Hotlantan

I'm not a player, I just fuck a lot
BGOL Investor
I will wait to see what the official filling says. Who knows, maybe she has a smoking gun or she has a good reason to believe they will give her a descent settlement. Of course i am going to laugh my ass off, if her settlement ends up being close to what she would have gotten if she did the special.
I've added the actual lawsuit to the OP. No smoking gun, no nothing she didn't claim in 2017.
Wanda Sykes had her Netflix special last May, so Monique should stop dragging her into this.
:raincloud:
 
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Mixd

Habitual Line Stepper
BGOL Investor
She thinks Netflix didn't hire a gang of black comedians to defend their case? Cause you didn't get paid what you wanted, you sue?
As if Netflix attorney team will destroy this if it ever makes it to trial.
 

xxxbishopxxx

Rising Star
BGOL Investor
I've added the actual lawsuit to the OP. No smoking gun, no nothing she didn't claim in 2017.
Wanda Sykes had a Netflix special last May, so Monique should stop dragging her into this.
:raincloud:
Wanda Sykes pretty much destroys her argument, unless Monique is going to try to claim Sykes is as big as David, Chirs, or Amy and should have made what they made.

Oh, well I just trying to keep an open mind and give her the benefit of the doubt as to having something new to argue.
 

"THE MAN"

Resident Cool Nerd
BGOL Investor
Don't we already complain that there are too many streaming services now as is? Go somewhere else!
 

Mrfreddygoodbud

Rising Star
BGOL Investor
I aint mad at her for suing everybody else sues for minute shit...

It doesnt appear to be a good move.. but you never know...

netflix may realize its more profitable to give her a show, then to have to be distracted by this..

if she does get a show.. it will do numbers because everybody is gonna tune in to see what she has to say...

personally I think they are afraid of folks like her and Eddie Griffith. they dont seem the type to cater to all the new

faggot recruiting and obsession thats going on with folks like alicia keys..

and will say shit thats not popular with todays obsession with dysfunctional sexual behavior.

So I aint mad at her for suing.. I just think there are more financially productive avenues for her to walk down.

I would peep a monique comedy special ...
 

knightmelodic

The Big Cat
BGOL Investor
Okay well, good luck with that. Hope everything works out for you. No shade.

I think she's delusional but I guess she gotta do what she gotta do.

I agree that the pay disparity was fucked up, especially between her and wack-ass schumer, but I think she played it all wrong.

The bottom line is she's just not that funny. That vulgar shit is funny for about 5 minutes. Then what?
 

Amajorfucup

Rising Star
Platinum Member
Shes right... Tho she probably no longer has a leg to stand on due to poor timing of filing... Like ive been saying since he initial complaints.. Its no coincidence Netflix started handing out specials like candy to C and D level black comics after she went public...

You idiots are too fucking stupid to see that Monique was right all along... Its no coincidence that every C level black comic started rolling out with Netflix specials once Monique (WITH A WANDA SYKES CO-SIGN) exposed them for their dishonest dealings and low ball negotiations to black female comics. You niggas dont know a corporate CYA campaign when you see one.
 

Mo-Better

The R&B Master
BGOL Investor
This again??? :hmm: I don't know how many of you remember "The Queens of Comedy" but Mo'Nique did not come off being what I call funny in that video. In fact she was the worst of all the women on that show. Spent most of her time on stage laughing at her own unfunny jokes.

Seems she still thinks that award was her ticket to riches. But this game she's running has gotten tired. If only one company was doing this to her, that one thing but its everywhere she goes. She's not looked upon as someone people feel they must see.

She needs to take her tired unfunny ass some place and be thankful for what she's got. Because in reality she's already overachieved.
 

djpolo

Rising Star
Platinum Member
Wanda Sykes pretty much destroys her argument, unless Monique is going to try to claim Sykes is as big as David, Chirs, or Amy and should have made what they made.

Oh, well I just trying to keep an open mind and give her the benefit of the doubt as to having something new to argue.
Her shit was funny to. She said she has a name for her stomach lol
 

modified

Rising Star
BGOL Investor
Who is her lawyer giving her advice? “Mo’Nique we can’t subpoena enough people to attend your shows...save up those Popeyes tears we suing somebody!?!
 
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