Comedian Mo’Nique settled a pay discrimination suit with streaming giant Netflix over what she said was a “lowball” offer for a one-hour comedy special.
The Wrap reports terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian sued the streaming giant in 2019 accusing it of gender, race, and pay discrimination after it offered to pay her $500,000 for a one-hour comedy special while offering and paying other comedians millions.
Mo’Nique’s original lawsuit listed several other comedians, both Black and white, and their Netflix payouts, alleging she was offered less because she is a Black woman.
“Netflix reportedly offered or paid [Chris] Rock, [Dave] Chapelle [sic], [Ellen] Degeneris [sic], and [Ricky] Gervais forty (40) times more per show than it offered Mo’Nique, and it offered [Amy] Schumer twenty-six (26) times more per show than Mo’Nique. In short, Netflix’s offer to Mo’Nique perpetuates the drastic wage gap forced upon Black women in the America’s workforce.”
Netflix at the time stood behind its offer saying, “We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix argued for a dismissal of the suit arguing that there’s no legal authority supporting the claim that an employer’s refusal to negotiate in good faith constitutes discrimination or retaliation.
However, the judge overseeing the case agreed with the comedian’s theory that Netflix’s failure to negotiate an opening offer consistent with its normal practice, which typically leads to increased compensation, qualifies as 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.
Netflix has not commented on the settlement and Mo’Nique’s attorney, Michael Parks, said “The matter has been amicably resolved.”