Comedian Mo’Nique is suing Netflix for racial and gender discrimination. It’s been nearly two years since the comedian tried to get people to boycott the streaming platform over a low stand-up special offer she received. She is now suing to stand up for herself and the ones who are coming up behind her, she said in a statement posted on social media. Mo’Nique claims she was offered a fraction of what comedians like Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle have received over the years. She had this to say.
“Hey My Loves – I can confirm that today I filed a pay discrimination lawsuit against Netflix. I had a choice to make: I could accept what I felt was pay discrimination or I could stand up for those who came before me and those who will come after me. I chose to stand up. I don’t have any further comment this time, but I appreciate all of your support and love.”
In addition to the gender and racial discrimination, Mo’Nique is also suing Netflix over unfair business practices, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court this morning. Netflix offered Mo’Nique $500,000 to do a stand-up special, which she thought was incredibly unfair. It’s not clear how much money the comedian is trying to get from the streaming giant at this time. You can read what her attorneys at the deRubertis Law Firm, APC and Schimmel & Parks, APLC said in the suit below.
“Despite Mo’Nique’s extensive résumé 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 says Netflix reportedly offered comedian Jerry Seinfeld $100 million for two stand-up specials, along with an interview series. It also said Netflix reportedly signed a deal with comedian Dave Chapelle in 2016 worth $60 million for three specials. Chris Rock was reportedly offered a $40 million deal for two specials, and Ricky Gervais was reportedly also offered $40 million for a two-show deal. Amy Schumer reportedly received $13 million for an hour-long special after renegotiating. And it’s rumored that Eddie Murphy is teaming with Netflix for a multi-million dollar stand-up deal. You can read another portion of the lawsuit below.
“Thus, Netflix reportedly offered or paid Rock, Chapelle, DeGeneres, and Gervais forty (40) times more per show than it offered Mo’Nique, and it offered Schumer twenty-six (26) times more per show than Mo’Nique. In short, Netflix’s offer to Mo’Nique perpetuates the drastic wage gap forced upon Black women in America’s workforce.”
If that wasn’t enough, Mo’Nique’s lawsuit brings Kevin Spacey into the mix. The comedian claims that Netflix allowed Spacey to use the N-word on the House of Cards set. The suit also brings up the fact that Netflix’s then Chief Communications Officer Jonathan Friedland used the N-word in a meeting and later made an apology over it. However, when apologizing to human resources, he used the word again. It was only after the streaming giant fired Friedland that they acknowledged his actions.
The lawsuit calls Mo’Nique, “one of the most well-known black female comedians in America” and says when she faced that “anachronistic attitude, she knew it was time to challenge the status quo.” Comedian Wanda Sykes also revealed that she too received a lowball offer from Netflix for a special. At this time, Netflix has not released a statement on the matter. When approached about the matter nearly two years ago, they would not comment on contract negotiations publicly. You can check out Mo’Nique’s Instagram post below.