Gabrielle Union Sues BET for an Excess of $1 Million Over 'Being Mary Jane' Contract

Antoinette Bueno
Entertainment Tonight

Looks like Gabrielle Union's relationship with BET has soured.

The 42-year-old actress is suing the BET Network for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation, among other things, over her show, Being Mary Jane, alleging that the network wants to shoot 20 episodes of the series back-to-back versus what they previously agreed, which according to the lawsuit, is no more than 13 episodes per season. Union claims the network is attempting to "fraudulently extend the term" of her contract.

Being Mary Jane season one included eight episodes, season two had 12 episodes, and season three had 10 episodes. Season four began filming in September 2016, and Union's complaint states she was informed a week before principal photography began that BET intended to make season four a 20-episode season.

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The actress was set to receive $150,00 per episode for season four, and $165,000 per episode for season five under her 2015 amended contract. She is seeking damages of at least $1 million, and wants her contract to be amended to reflect that there be a maximum of 13 episodes per season.

"BET has no right to refuse to honor its representation and assurances to Plaintiffs that no season of the series would have more than 13 episodes and to manipulate the shooting schedule for the series in this manner in order to avoid paying Plaintiffs the compensation they are owed," Union's attorney, Martin Singer, explains in court papers obtained by ET.

"It is outrageous that BET would treat one of its biggest stars in this manner after all she has done to support the network and contribute to its success," the complaint states.

BET responded to the lawsuit on Wednesday in a statement to ET.

"While we hold Gabrielle Union in the highest esteem, we feel strongly that we are contractually well within our rights and are committed to reaching a swift and positive resolution in this matter," the statement reads.

Singer also spoke about the lawsuit on Wednesday, telling ET in a statement, "We filed this lawsuit because of BET's outrageous conduct toward its number one star on its highest rated show."

Being Mary Jane debuted in January 2014 on BET, revolving around successful TV news anchor Máry Jane Paul (Union) who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. The series has received mostly positive reviews from critics, and Union received an award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special at the 45th NAACP Image Awards in 2014.

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Union can currently be seen on the big screen in The Birth of a Nation. In September, the star addressed the controversy surrounding the film, given the rape allegations surrounding her co-star and director, Nate Parker.

Meanwhile, during a candid interview with XoNecole, Union said that the only way to see progress in America is to open up conversations.

"I've already talked to Lena Dunham," she said, after the Girls creator caused controversy when she made jokes about football pro Odell Beckham Jr. not wanting to sleep with her when the two met at the Met Gala. I would love to talk to Kate Upton and Amy Schumer. Maybe I can help to explain the oppressive systems that have benefited and allowed them to say these careless, insensitive and offensive things. Those conversations are awkward as f**k and they get heated. Similar to watching people have conversations about consent."

Watch the below to hear Union's secrets to a happy marriage with NBA star Dwyane Wade.

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