(UPDATED WITH NETFLIX STATEMENT) As the streaming wars heat up, Netflix now faces some very serious allegations of institutional racial and sex discrimination from Mo’Nique over a comedy special that never happened and the fallout that followed.
“Netflix courted Mo’Nique, saw what she had to offer and made her an offer,” lawyers for the Oscar winner declared Thursday in a multi-claim complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court (read it here). “But the offer Netflix made Mo’Nique wreaked [sic] of discrimination; it perpetuated the pay gap suffered by Black women.”
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At the heart of the 10-claim and jury-seeking document is Mo’Nique’s contention that the $500,000 the Reed Hastings-run streamer offered her back in 2017 for a special was not just an insult but illegal. “Netflix’s business practice of paying Black women less than non-Black women for substantially equal or similar work causes harm to Plaintiff that outweighs any reason Netflix may have for doing so,” the jury seeking complaint states.
“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,” asserts the widespread damages-seeking 39-page filing. “In response, Netflix did the opposite.”
“It dug its heels in the ground, refused to negotiate fairly and stood behind its discriminatory offer,” claim Mo’Nique’s attorneys at The deRubertis Law Firm and Schimmel & Parks. “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,” they add in what is a pretty clear reference to Amy Schumer “In short, as this lawsuit shows, Netflix’s treatment of Mo’Nique began with a discriminatory low-ball offer and ended with a blacklisting act of retaliation.”
As is to further prove the point, the filing lists off the tens of millions that the likes of returning Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, Ellen DeGeneres and Dave Chappelle supposedly raked in for their Netflix specials.
“This lawsuit seeks to correct these wrongs, bring fair and non-discriminatory pay to Mo’Nique and stop Netflix’s discriminatory practices going forward,” the action says. With names named and photos included of a “complete lack of racial diversity” management team of Hastings, Ted Sarandos, Jessica Neal and more in the lawsuit, Netflix wasn’t giving any ground in their response to the long time critic
“We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously,” said a spokesperson for the streamer on Thursday. “We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”
Emmy nominee, late-night host and Queen of Comedy headliner Mo’Nique, on the other hand, took to social media to give her POV:
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