Comedian and actress Mo’Nique is suing Netflix for racial and gender discrimination.
The actress confirmed the news on social media, writing to fans that she’s trying to hold the streaming service accountable for pay discrimination.
“I can confirm today that I filed a pay discrimination lawsuit against Netflix,” Mo’Nique 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.”
NBC News reports that in the 39-page filing, the comedian accuses the streaming giant of giving a “biased, discriminatory” offer for a one-hour comedy special.
Netflix infamously offered the comedienne $500,000 for a comedy special. Reportedly, the same streaming service offered Amy Schumer $11 million, with Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle, earning $40 million and $60 million respectively.
The lawsuit, filed on her behalf by attorneys at the deRubertis Law Firm, APC and Schimmel & Parks, APLC, states, “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.”
“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 filing continued.
Last year, Mo’Nique called for a boycott of Netflix, following news that the streaming service had offered her less than other comics for a stand-up special.
The comedian said she learned “patience” from sounding the alarm on the lack of pay equity in Hollywood, especially for Black women, because she “understood” where many were coming from.
“We get fearful of losing out, so we just keep accepting. When people say, ‘Mo’Nique, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you know what’s going to happen?’ Well, baby, I’m going to have to deal with that, but hopefully the little girl who’s not here yet, she won’t. If I don’t do my part, then the ones that came before me will look at me like, ‘What [are] you doing? You know the ass whuppings we took for you?’”
A Netflix spokesperson has since issued a statement about the lawsuit, telling ESSENCE, “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.”