Mo’Nique, Netflix Settle Lawsuit – Essence


Mo’Nique‘s long-running issue with Netflix has officially been settled.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comedienne and the streaming giant have reached a settlement agreement over her lawsuit alleging discrimination on the basis of race and gender. The terms of the deal were reportedly not disclosed. However, each party mutually agreed that the suit would be dismissed.

Mo’Nique initially clashed with Netflix in 2017, citing a “lowball” offer of $500k she received from the platform in proposed compensation for an original one-hour comedy special. In the proposed agreement, Netflix would own the copyright to the special, the material performed therein, and all audio rights. Mo’Nique called out Netflix’s offer as “discriminatory” against her as a Black woman, causing the streamer to shut down negotiations.

The comedy star notably went public with her grievances in early 2018, calling for her fans to boycott the streaming service over what she called “color bias and gender bias,” noting that while she was offered a mere $500,000 for a comedy special, comedians like Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Rock were offered well into the double-digit millions for equal work.

“I had a choice to make: I could accept what I felt was pay discrimination or I could stand up for those who came before me and those who will come after me,” Mo’Nique wrote on social media of her decision to file suit in 2019.

DAILY POP — Episode 190130 — Pictured: (l-r) Actress and comedian Mo’Nique chats about her “Mo’Nique Does Vegas” residency — (Photo by: Aaron Poole/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

For their part, Netflix responded that they believed their opening offer was more than fair.

“We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously,” the streaming service said in a statement to ESSENCE at the time. “We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”

Though the case has been “amicably resolved” according to Mo’Nique’s attorney, the federal judge overseeing the case has notably leaned in her favor on the issue of Netflix’s refusal to further negotiate once the comedienne voiced concerns about the low price of the initial offer. The judge called Netflix’s hardline approach an “adverse employment action for purposes of a retaliation claim.”

“At the very least, Mo’Nique’s allegations permit the plausible inference that, had she not challenged her offer as discriminatory, Netflix would have continued negotiating in good faith with her and increased her offer, consistent with its customary practice in dealing with talent in the entertainment industry,” the judge wrote.

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