Mo'Nique Files Race and Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Netflix Regarding 'Lowball Offer' [Updated]

Mo’Nique attends the 83rd Academy Awards Nominations Announcement on January 25, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Mo’Nique isn’t nearly done sticking up for herself.

According to NBC News, the Oscar-winning actress and comedian is suing Netflix, accusing the popular streaming platform of race and gender discrimination in relation to the deal she was offered for a stand-up special in November 2017.

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If you remember, Mo’Nique took to various media outlets (including her own social media platform) to expose Netflix for attempting to underpay her (a $500,000 “talent fee”) in comparison to other stand-up comedians, particularly men and white women. In reaction to her initial rants, Netflix declined to comment on “contract negotiations.”

“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 read.

And yes, the lawsuit named names.

“Thus, Netflix reportedly offered or paid [Chris] Rock, [Dave] Chapelle, [Ellen] Degeneres, and [Ricky] Gervais forty (40) times more per show than it offered Mo’Nique, and it offered [Amy] Schumer twenty-six (26) times more per show than Mo’Nique,” the lawsuit stated. “In short, Netflix’s offer to Mo’Nique perpetuates the drastic wage gap forced upon Black women in America’s workforce.”

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Mo’Nique took to Instagram on Thursday to confirm that she had, indeed, filed the lawsuit and that she had no “further comment at this time.”

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“When the talent was not a Black woman, Netflix offered to pay, and did pay, astronomically more than it pays to Black women like it offered to Mo’Nique,” the lawsuit continued.

Mo’Nique and her legal team at deRubertis Law Firm, APC and Schimmel & Parks, APLC filed the lawsuit Thursday and are seeking unspecified damages. The 39-page filing highlights the gender wage gap, lack of diversity in Hollywood and shines a spotlight on top executives within Netflix’s management team as some of the culprits.

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NBC reports:

The lawsuit claims that Netflix lacked diversity in its leadership and reportedly turned a blind eye or did not act quickly enough when a senior executive and an actor in a series used racist language.

The filing claims Netflix’s Board of Directors has “historically lacked racial diversity and, instead, has been white-only for years. For years, the Board lacked even one Black member — let alone, a Black female” and highlights “in 2018 and 2019 respectively, Netflix reported that only 4% and 6% of its workforce being comprised of Black employees. In other words, while its senior management specifically lacks racial diversity, Netflix’s workforce generally also underrepresents Black workers compared to the general population.”

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The Root has reached out to Netflix for comment.

Update: 11/14/2019, 8:15 p.m. EST:

Netflix has responded to The Root’s request for comment.

“We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously,” a Netflix spokesperson told The Root.We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.