Oscar-winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique filed a discrimination suit against Netflix on Thursday at the Los Angeles Superior Court, according to NBC News. She is one of only ten Black actresses to have won an Oscar since the Academy’s inception. The 39-page document accused the streaming giant of gender and racial discrimination.
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In November 2017, Mo’Nique called out Netflix for attempting to pay her $500,000 for a comedy special when other comedians like Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer and Chris Rock were paid millions more. She went as far as asking Black people to boycott Netflix to force the company to acknowledge its alleged color and gender bias.
#BOYCOTT NETFLIX FIR COLOR BIAS AND GENDER BIAS. PLEASE STAND WITH ME. I LOVE US. https://t.co/UDdpx0xz5b
— Mo’Nique Worldwide (@moworldwide) January 19, 2018
Wanda Sykes, another Black comedian and actress, offered her support to Mo’Nique and joined the boycott. She then disclosed that she had only been offered half of what Netflix offered Mo’Nique. Sykes later brokered a deal with EPIX.
.@moworldwide, thank you for speaking out. @netflix offered me less than half of your $500k. I was offended but found another home. #EPIX
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) January 21, 2018
The lawsuit named top executives at Netflix and highlighted the lack of diversity in Hollywood.
Lawyers from deRubertis Law Firm, APC and Schimmel & Parks, APLC filed the suit on Mo’Nique’s behalf.
“Despite Mo’Nique’s extensive resume 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,” the lawsuit reportedly says.
DiversityInc spoke with Arlene Vásquez and Mary Eckhardt Hearn from the Los Angeles Superior Court who confirmed that the paperwork had been filed and a case number had been issued. The documents had not been posted electronically by Thursday evening. The lawsuit was filed under Monique Hicks, Mo’Nique’s given name, at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Thursday.
The case is Hicks v. Netflix, Case No. 19STCV40934 (LA Sup. Ct. Nov. 14, 2019).
In an Instagram post, the entertainer posted a note explaining why she decided to take action against Netflix. She also thanked her followers for their love and support.
View this post on Instagram
Though the courts would have to make a decision based on evidence, Mo’Nique does appear to have a compelling case. Given the entertainer’s body of work, $500,000 seems to be a lowball number.
Chappelle reportedly signed a deal for $60 million for three Netflix specials in 2016.
Jerry Seinfeld, whose hit comedy television show “Seinfeld” went into syndication in 1995, reportedly made a $100 million deal to sell the rights to the program to Netflix. He also has a new web series and two comedy specials included in the contract, according to Business Insider.
Amy Schumer reportedly negotiated for an extra couple of million dollars after learning that Chappelle and Rock were paid significantly more than her initial $11 million arrangement in 2017, according to Variety.
Netflix has not commented on the lawsuit.