Comedian Mo’Nique suing Netflix for race and gender discrimination
Comedian and Oscar-winning actress Mo'Nique is suing Netflix.
She's accusing the streaming company of racial and gender discrimination for attempting to underpay her in 2017 for a stand-up special in comparison to what the company paid other stars for similar work.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday
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“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, who nationwide make only 61 cents for every dollar white males bring home,” Mo’Nique’s lawyer Michael Parks said in a press release to Fox News.
“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," Parks said.
The comic was reportedly offered $500,000 for the special while "other white male or female and black male comedians received deals at or above $20 million per comedy special," he continued.
The suit alleges that Netflix paid Amy Schumer $13 million for an hourlong special in 2017 after negotiating with her from their starting point of $11 million. It also alleges that Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais were offered $40 million each for two specials around 2016, Dave Chapelle was paid $60 million for three specials in 2016, and Jerry Seinfeld raked in $100 million for two specials and his interview series, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."
The lawsuit additionally alleges that "when Mo’Nique spoke up against what she believed was a discriminatory offer, Netflix responded retaliatorily by refusing to negotiate in good faith with her."
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Mo'Nique, 51, addressed the lawsuit in a statement she posted to social media on Thursday.
"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 said. "I chose to stand up."
David M. deRubertis, who also represents Mo'Nique, said in the release: “In recent years, the spotlight has appropriately shined on the gender pay inequities that continue to plague the American workforce. By this lawsuit, Mo’Nique is taking a stand against the most severe pay gap of all: the pay gap experienced by black women in the American workforce.”
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A Netflix spokesperson told Fox News on Thursday the company plans on "fighting the lawsuit."
"We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously. We believe our opening offer to Mo'Nique was fair -- which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit," the spokesperson added.