Netflix has settled a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit from Mo’Nique in a case that could establish that the streamer got back at the comedian by refusing to engage in good faith negotiations after she accused the company of discrimination for opening with a low score. sentence.
Both sides dismissed the lawsuit on Tuesday, according to a court filing. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The complaint alleges that in 2017, Netflix began courting Mo’Nique for a comedy release at a time when it was aggressively ramping up its stand-up content. Negotiations, however, did not go far because the Oscar-winning actress did not agree to what she considered a low $500,000 introductory offer for a one-hour show over which Netflix would have full control, including copyright ownership and retention of all rights. audio-only rights to specials. She protested the proposal as discriminatory, which led to Netflix pulling out of the negotiations.
Mo’Nique subsequently sued Netflix for refusing to budge after the initial offer. She accused the streamer of systematically underpaying black women, pointing to eight-figure deals with Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Amy Schumer who allegedly used other comedians’ remuneration during negotiations and received 26 times what was offered to Mo’Nique. to the complaint.
“The offer made by Mo’Nique was simply an ‘opening offer’ that was expected – by both Netflix and Mo’Nique – to continue negotiations that would likely result in an increase in the compensation offered by Mo’Nique,” the complaint reads. . “After Mo’Nique adopted protected behavior protesting the discriminatory offer, Netflix ceased any further negotiations and refused to negotiate in good faith in accordance with its standard practice.”
Mo’Nique spoke publicly about the allegedly discriminatory proposal, calling for a boycott of Netflix.
“I couldn’t accept this low offer because if I did… I couldn’t sleep at night,” Mo’Nique said on rock in the morning in January 2018. “If I accept $500,000, what happens to Tiffany Haddish? If I agree with this, what will happen to the black comedian? Because they’ll say, “Mo’Nique took this and she’s got that.” So what’s ahead of them?
At the time, Netflix said in a statement, “We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair, so we will be fighting this lawsuit.” Upon being fired, Netflix argued that there was no legal basis to support the claim that an employer’s failure to negotiate in good faith constituted discrimination or retaliation.
But the federal judge overseeing the case upheld Mo’Nique’s new theory that Netflix’s failure to negotiate an introductory offer in line with its usual practice, which usually results in increased compensation, constitutes an “adverse employment lawsuit for the purpose of retribution.”
“At the very least, Mo’Nique’s claims allow for the plausible conclusion that, had she not challenged her offer as discriminatory, Netflix would have continued to negotiate with her in good faith and increase her offer, in line with its usual practice in talent ratio in the entertainment industry,” the judge writes.
Michael Parks, representing Mo’Nique, said: “The issue has been resolved amicably.”
Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.