In January 2018, Oscar-winning actress and comedian Mo'Nique called out Netflix for what she believed to be a discriminatory deal for $500,000 USD the company attempted to make with her for a comedy special. In a video on Instagram, she brought up that comedians like Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle were offered double-digit millions for their respective comedy specials, and is now taking her complaint to court. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress has filed a lawsuit against the streaming service for racial and gender discrimination.
"Netflix’s treatment of Mo’Nique began with a discriminatory low-ball offer and ended with a blacklisting act of retaliation," the lawsuit reads. The full document once against cites the money paid to Schumer, Rock, and Chappelle, specifically calling out the fact that Schumer was initially offered $11 million USD but managed to negotiate it to $13 million USD.
"What makes Mo’Nique, who has been labelled a living legend based on her awards from around the world, her tenure in the game, and her diverse body of work…somehow…worth $12,500,000 USD less than Amy Schumer to [Netflix]?" a representative asked, according to the suit.
“When we asked Netflix to explain the difference, why the money was so different, they said, ‘Well, we believe that’s what Mo’Nique will bring.’ We said, ‘What about my résumé?’ They said, ‘We don’t go off of résumés,’” Mo'Nique explained on Instagram back in 2018. “Then we asked them, ‘What was it about Amy Schumer?’ And they said, ‘Well, she sold out Madison Square Garden twice and she had a big movie over the summer.’ Is that not Amy Schumer’s résumé?”
In response to the lawsuit, Netflix issued 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.”
Netflix and Mo'Nique did not immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment.