Actress Mo’Nique Sues Netflix, Alleging Racial and Gender Discrimination

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22: Comedian and actress Mo'Nique spotted arriving at 'The View' to talk about the her call for a boycott of Netflix in New York, New York on February 22, 2018. Photo Credit: Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/IPX
Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/IPX

Oscar-winning actress and stand-up comedienne Mo’Nique has filed a lawsuit against Netflix, alleging that the streamer engaged in racial and gender discrimination when it attempted to underpay her for a stand-up special while offering other comedians more money.

The Precious star confirmed on her official Instagram account Thursday that she is taking Netflix to court.

“Hey My Loves — I can confirm today that I filed a pay discrimination lawsuit against Netflix,” she wrote. “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.”

She added: “I chose to stand up. I don’t have any further comment at this time, but I appreciate all of your support and love.”

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The filing represents Mo’Nique’s latest public salvo against Netflix. The actress took to Instagram last year to call for a boycott of the streaming entertainment giant, claiming Netflix offered her $500,000 to record a special while other comedians had been offered tens of millions of dollars for similar work.

Her new lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, reiterates many of the accusations she had made in the past.

“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 complaint states, according to a report from NBC News.

Netflix has been investing heavily in stand-up comedy programming, paying king’s ransoms to marquee talent, including a reported $100 million deal with Jerry Seinfeld and a $60 million arrangement with Dave Chappelle.

Mo’Nique’s lawsuit alleges that Netflix offered Amy Schumer $11 million for a special and that Schumer was able to negotiate a higher pay day.

“In short, Netflix’s offer to Mo’Nique perpetuates the drastic wage gap forced upon Black women in America’s workforce,” the lawsuit alleges.

Mo’Nique calls out Netflix’s board of directors and senior management in her lawsuit, saying they both lack racial diversity. She also cites the firing of Netflix’s former spokesman Jonathan Friedland, who was dismissed after he used the N-word in the workplace.

An attorney for Mo’Nique told NBC News that the actress is fighting back against Netflix’s “anachronistic attitude” toward black women.

“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,” attorney Michael W. Parks told the network.

“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.”

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