Mo’Nique sues Netflix for discrimination
LOS ANGELES — Mo’Nique has sued Netflix for race and sex discrimination in its offer for a proposed comedy special, accusing the streaming service of giving her a lowball offer that was part of a larger company tendency to underpay black women.
The comedian and Oscar-winning actress says Netflix officials were effusive in their praise of her work before they offered her $500,000 in early 2018 for a comedy special and refused to negotiate further.
The suit says that stands in contrast to deals reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars for comedy specials from Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Chapelle and Ricky Gervais, and that the streaming service was willing to negotiate with other comics.
Netflix denied the lawsuit’s main allegations in a statement.
“We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously,” the statement said. “We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair.”
The suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges Netflix violated California’s fair employment and civil rights laws and is representative of the major pay inequity in all employment for black women. “I had a choice to make,” Mo’Nique said on Instagram. “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.”
Mo’Nique, 51, first gained fame as one of stand-up’s Queens of Comedy, and starred in the UPN series “The Parkers.” She won an Academy Award for her performance in the 2009 film, “Precious.”
“I had a choice to make,” Mo’Nique said in an Instagram post. “I chose to stand up.”