Culture

Mo’Nique Settles Discrimination Lawsuit With Netflix Over Pay Dispute

After alleging that Netflix offered her a lowball deal, Mo’Nique has settled in a discrimination lawsuit against the platform.

Mo’Nique is celebrating a big win this week. On Tuesday, Netflix settled with the comedian in a lawsuit where she alleged that the platform retaliated against her in refusing to take part in good faith negotiations after extending a lowball offer in 2017. That year, Netflix offered her $500,000 for a one-hour standup special, which insulted the comedian who cited Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock and others for making tens of millions for their Netflix specials.

At the time, Mo’Nique called for fans to boycott Netflix. “I couldn’t accept that low offer because if I did … I couldn’t sleep at night,” she said. “If I accepted $500,000, what does Tiffany Haddish have coming? If I accept that, what does the Black female comedian have coming? Because what they’ll say is, ‘Mo’Nique accepted this and she’s got that.’ So what do they have coming?”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian opposed the offer, filing a lawsuit against the company in 2019 and accusing them of racial and gender bias.

“The offer made to Mo’Nique was merely an ‘opening offer’ from which there was an expectation – both by Netflix and Mo’Nique – of continued negotiations likely leading to increased compensation being offered to Mo’Nique,” the complaint read. “Once Mo’Nique engaged in protected conduct by protesting the discriminatory offer, Netflix shut down any further negotiations and refused to negotiate in good-faith consistent with its standard practices.”

In a previous statement Netflix said, “We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair – which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”

The federal judge that presided over the case, Judge Andre Birotte Jr., sided with the comedian, saying: “Mo’Nique plausibly alleges that, after she spoke out and called her initial offer discriminatory, Netflix retaliated against her by shutting down its standard practice of negotiating in good faith that typically results in increased monetary compensation beyond the ‘opening offer’ and denying her increased compensation as a result.”

“While Netflix argues that the novelty of Mo’Nique’s claim and the absence of on-point legal authority for it should bar her retaliation claims outright, the Court disagrees,” the U.S. District Court judge added.

Mo’Nique’s settlement with Netflix has not been made public.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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