Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Court Rules Mo’Nique Can Move Forward with Discrimination Lawsuit Against Netflix

Mo'Nique

*A judge has given Mo’Nique the go ahead to continue with her discrimination lawsuit against Netflix.

Mo’Nique filed a lawsuit against the streaming giant last year, accusing the company of race and gender discrimination. 

Mo believes she was slighted by the platform after she was offered pennies for a comedy special, which she turned down. She says Netflix offered comedian Amy Schumer $11 million for an hour-long stand-up special (she eventually got $13 mil), but only offered Mo’Nique $500,000 for a special.

Netflix responded to Mo’s lawsuit in a statement: “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.”

On Thursday (July 16) the Central District court in California denied the broadcaster’s attempt to have the case dismissed.

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netflix

Here’s more from USA Today:

District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. noted Mo’Nique raised a “novel theory” by arguing Netflix’s alleged failure to enter negotiations to up their low opening offer constituted an “adverse employment action” for the purposes of a retaliation claim.

The judge noted: “…Regardless of whether plaintiff will ultimately prevail on (her) claims, dismissing this case under Rule 12(b)(6) is not appropriate.

“Plaintiff’s complaint may raise a novel issue, but that does not justify dismissing it at this stage.”

Mo’s lawsuit argues: “Despite Mo’Nique’s extensive résumé and documented history of comedic success, when Netflix presented her with an offer of employment for an exclusive stand-up comedy special, Netflix made a lowball offer that was only a fraction of what Netflix paid other (non-Black female) comedians.”

Mo’Nique’s lawyer, David deRubertis, said Netflix shut down “good-faith negotiations because she raised concerns about pay discrimination is not retaliation under the law”.

He added: “The court disagreed. Today’s ruling is an important victory for Hollywood talent who, just like all other workers, need protections against retaliation if they raise concerns about pay discrimination during the hiring process.

“Employers in the entertainment industry need to take pay discrimination concerns seriously, fix them if the concerns have merit, and never retaliate against those who have the courage to speak up about equal pay.”

In a statement to USA TODAY last year, Netflix said they would fight Mo’Nique’s lawsuit, describing their initial offer to her as fair.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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