In January 2018, comedian-actress Mo’Nique called for a boycott of Netflix over “gender bias and color bias,” citing her experience in attempting to negotiate a deal for a stand-up special with the streaming service. As reported by Variety, on Thursday, Mo’Nique has officially filed a discrimination lawsuit against Netflix, alleging that the streaming service’s lowball offer for her proposed comedy special broke the law.
Mo’Nique’s discrimination suit accuses Netflix of a lack of diversity in senior leadership roles, as well as a history of insensitivity to black people, and a citation claiming that, as of 2019, only 6% of the Netflix workforce is black.
“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, who nationwide make only 61 cents for every dollar white males bring home,” said Michael W. Parks, Mo’Nique’s attorney, in a statement. “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.”
In Mo’Nique’s original call for the Netflix boycott on Instagram, she revealed that she was offered just $500,000 for a stand-up special, in comparison to Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock’s $20 million specials and Amy Schumer’s $11 million special. In the case of Schumer, Mo’Nique even noted how she was able to renegotiate to get a more comparable pay to the male comedians based on her past accomplishments, but Mo’Nique was unable to do the same.
Later that January, Mo’Nique also posted the proposed terms of the Netflix deal on Instagram, which backed up her claims of the monetary offer, as well as revealed the restricting conditions of the deal.
“The pay gap produces real, tangible, and stark consequences,” the suit states. “Black women have less money to support themselves and their families, less money to save and invest for the future, and less money to spend on goods and services.”
Netflix declined to comment on Mo’Nique’s allegations in 2018, stating that the streaming service does not comment on contract negotiations.