Jeremy Tardy, who played Rashid Mburu in a recurring role on Netflix’s “Dear White People,” has exited the satirical comedy ahead of its fourth season and accused producer Lionsgate of racial discrimination.
In a Facebook post Friday evening, Tardy said he had been offered to return for several episodes in the show’s upcoming fourth and final season. Tardy said he was disturbed when his counteroffer was rejected, as one of his white colleagues revealed they had received the same initial offer and had successfully negotiated a counteroffer.
Tardy along with six other recurring cast members, banded together on August 31 to reject Lionsgate’s initial offers.
“Our stance was to move powerfully as a unit in the negotiation process and, more importantly, to stand on principle because this is not simply a monetary matter,” Tardy said in the Facebook post. “We were all aware of the notorious pay disparities between people of color and our white colleagues on Netflix and Lionsgate shows; so this made it blatantly obvious. However, our collective bargaining power was undermined with side deal offers and lack of transparency. These tactics led to some individuals taking deals before the collective group received a fair and equitable negotiation process.”
A Lionsgate representative sent the following statement to IndieWire:
“This was a purely financial negotiation regarding deal terms. Lionsgate is committed to equal treatment for all talent regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation. We are very proud of ‘Dear White People’ and its place in the national conversation about racial equality and social justice and we look forward to beginning production on its 4th season.”
A Netflix representative deferred questions to Lionsgate.
An unnamed source told Deadline on Friday that the budget for “Dear White People” was significantly increased for Season 4 and stated that a portion of the larger budget was being used for recurring cast members, all of whom were offered raises. Some accepted the offers while others held out for more money; all offers were approved by series creator Justin Simien, according to the source.
Tardy’s exit from “Dear White People” was first reported by Deadline.
Tardy’s full Facebook post can be viewed below: