Mo'Nique Sues Netflix for Discrimination Over $500K Stand-Up Special Offer

Mo'Nique - Almost Christmas Atlanta screening Getty-H 2019
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures

Nearly two years after Mo'Nique called for a Netflix boycott on Twitter, the comedian is suing the streaming giant for racial and gender discrimination over the $500,000 offer she received to do a stand-up special.

In January 2018, Mo'Nique posted a video alleging gender and color bias because her offer was significantly lower than the millions paid to the likes of Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. Wanda Sykes responded on Twitter, thanking her for speaking out and saying she walked away from a deal that was "less than half" of what Mo'Nique was offered.

Mo'Nique is suing the streaming giant for race and gender discrimination and unfair business practices, according to a complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Mo'Nique says Netflix is perpetuating the pay gap suffered by black women, and when she told the company its offer was discriminatory, it "refused to negotiate fairly." She notes that when "a white female comedian [Schumer] objected to her offer (given how much lower it was than comparable males), Netflix reconsidered and upped her offer."

In the suit, Mo'Nique lists examples of what other comedians, who aren't black women, were reportedly paid by Netflix: Jerry Seinfeld ($100 million), Eddie Murphy ($70 million), Chappelle ($60 million), Rock ($40 million), Ellen DeGeneres ($20 million), Jeff Dunham ($16.5 million) and Ricky Gervais ($40 million).

The complaint also includes headshots of seven top Netflix executives, all of whom are white, in support of her contention that the company's lack of racial diversity contributes to a culture of discrimination.

"In short, as this lawsuit shows, Netflix’s treatment of Mo’Nique began with a discriminatory low-ball offer and ended with a blacklisting act of retaliation," states the complaint, which is posted below. In 2015, Mo'Nique told The Hollywood Reporter that she was blackballed after her best supporting actress Oscar win in 2010 for her role in Precious because she was "difficult" to work with.

A Netflix spokesperson on Thursday sent this statement to THR: "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.”

Nov. 14, 2:55 p.m. Updated with statement from Netflix.