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Actor Jeremy Tardy has announced his exit from Dear White People.
Tardy, who plays the character of Rashid Bakr on the comedy/drama series from creator Justin Simien, posted a lengthy thread of messages on Twitter on Friday, referencing racial discrimination by Lionsgate.
“Unfortunately I will not be joining NETFLIX’s Dear White People for its fourth and final season due to my experience with Lionsgate and their practices of racial discrimination,” tweeted the actor.
“After being offered to return for several episodes my team was notified that our counter offer would not be considered and that the initial offer was the ‘best and final.’ This news was disturbing because one of my white colleagues — being a true ally — revealed that they too had received the same initial offer and had successfully negotiated a counter offer.”
He went on to write, “My team expressed this issue to Lionsgate and the producers maintained their position that the white actor was able to negotiate while I was not — regardless of my credits and experience.”
Tardy continued, “With this information six recurring cast members, along with myself, banded together on Monday, August 30th to pass on Lionsgate’s initial offers. Our stance was to move powerfully as a unit in the negotiation process and, more importantly, to stand on principle because this is not simply a monetary matter. We were all aware of the notorious pay disparities between people of color and our white colleagues on Netflix and Lionsgate shows; so this made it blatantly obvious.”
The thread continued, “However, our collective bargaining power was undermined with side deal offers and lack of transparency. These tactics led to some individuals taking deals before the collective group received a fair and equitable negotiation process.”
Tardy wrote that he is calling out the “shameful practices of discrimination and racial inequality with regard to how they have historically undervalued and lowballed people of color.”
A Lionsgate spokesperson wrote in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, “This was a purely financial negotiation regarding deal terms. Lionsgate is committed to equal treatment for all talent regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation. We are very proud of Dear White People and its place in the national conversation about racial equality and social justice and we look forward to beginning production on its 4th season.”
Dear White People, based on Simien’s 2014 film of the same name, focuses on racial tensions at an Ivy League college. The series was renewed last October for its fourth and final season.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Tardy for comment.
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