Seinfeld comedy special Mo'Nique Los Angeles Superior Court discrimination lawsuit Netflix gender Dave Chappelle Amy Schumer comedian actress
Photo credit: Mo'Nique, winner of the 2010 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role by Thomas Attila Lewis | CC BY-SA 2.0

Mo’Nique Files Lawsuit Against Netflix For Race and Gender Discrimination

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.

Related Story: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Screenwriter Adele Lim Walks Away From Sequel Over Pay Disparity

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.

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.

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.


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A post shared by Mo’nique (@therealmoworldwide) on

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.

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