On Thursday, Precious actress and comedian Mo’Nique sued Netflix for race and gender discrimination, alleging that the company attempted to lowball her in an offer for an exclusive stand-up comedy special. According to the lawsuit, the $500,000 “talent fee” Mo’Nique was offered for an hour-long special back in 2017 was significantly lower than offers to other comedians for similar products. The 39-page filing cites the reported $100 million 2017 deal between Netflix and Jerry Seinfeld, a similarly astronomical deal of $60 million for Dave Chapelle, and an incident in which Amy Schumer negotiated her deal from $11 million to $13 million based on the offers made to her male counterparts.
“Despite Mo’Nique’s extensive resume 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 says. The Oscar-winning actress is alleging that the insufficient offer “perpetuates the drastic wage gap forced upon Black women in America’s workforce.”
“We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously,” Netflix said in a statement. “We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair—which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”