Mo’Nique is doubling down on her initial accusations against Netflix back in 2018. She claimed the streaming service made her a “lowball offer” of $500,000 for a single stand-up special, whereas white comedians or male comedians were reportedly offered significantly more. She listed Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Amy Schumer as just a few examples of comedians who were reportedly offered millions for one or multiple specials.
“We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”
Mo’Nique’s lawsuit also accused Netflix of lacking diversity in its leadership. The suit says that Netflix’s Board of Directors has “historically lacked racial diversity and, instead, has been white-only for years. For years, the Board lacked even one Black member — let alone, a Black female” and highlights “in 2018 and 2019 respectively, Netflix reported that only 4% and 6% of its workforce being comprised of Black employees. In other words, while its senior management specifically lacks racial diversity, Netflix’s workforce generally also under-represents Black workers compared to the general population.”
In addition to all of this, Mo’Nique’s suit says Netflix mishandled incidents where a senior executive and an actor in a Netflix series used racist language. The streaming company reportedly didn’t intervene when actor Kevin Spacey allegedly made racist statements, including use of the N-word, while working on the series “House of Cards,” according to the suit.
The suit goes on to list Netflix’s then Chief Communications Officer Jonathan Friedland as another person who used the N-word, this time in a meeting. A few employees reportedly complained, reads the lawsuit, which eventually led to Friedland apologizing. However, Friedland reportedly met with Black human resources employees and spewed the N-word again in his retelling of the previous incident, says the lawsuit. Months later, Friedland was allegedly invited to speak in front of Black employees and he didn’t apologize for his remark. It was only after this moment that Netflix let Friedland go, acknowledging that he “showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity,” according to the lawsuit.
Mo’Nique’s suit gave another example of gender discrimination when it pointed to a pay disparity between actors Claire Foy and Matt Smith on the Netflix show “The Crown,” where it was revealed that Foy was paid substantially less than her counterpart on the series. This later resulted in an apology from show producers. Earlier this year, Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos told the Makers Conference in California that the backlash over the pay disparity caused the company to review talent salaries in its original and third-party series and to initiate some pay adjustments, according to Deadline.
According to TMZ, Mo’Nique is suing for unspecified damages, and for an injunction forcing the streaming company to change its discriminatory policies.