Oscar-winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique is currently suing streaming behemoth Netflix for gender and race discrimination.

On Thursday, the actress filed the lawsuit and accused the company of offering her astronomically less than what the streaming service has paid other comedians for a proposed special, as BuzzFeed reports.

Mo’Nique alleged that two years ago, the $500,000 for an hourlong stand-up special that Netflix offered her, compared to millions that were paid to other comedians, “perpetuated the pay gap suffered by black women.”

According to Lean In, a site that advocates for equity in the workforce, black women are paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to white men on average.

“Mo’Nique objected to Netflix’s discriminatory pay offer, pointed out how it was discriminatory and asked Netflix to do the right thing by negotiating fair pay with her,” the lawsuit states. “In response, Netflix did the opposite. It dug its heels in the ground, refused to negotiate fairly and stood behind its discriminatory offer.”


BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 25: Actress Mo’Nique poses at the 83rd Academy Awards Nominations Announcement held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on January 25, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.

BuzzFeed was told by a spokesperson for Netflix that the company plans to fight the lawsuit.

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

Mo’Nique had previously made headlines when she revealed the qualms that she had with Netflix’s “lowball offer that was only a fraction of what Netflix paid other (non-black female) comedians.”

Amy Schumer

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 12: Amy Schumer attends the Africa Outreach Project Fundraiser hosted by Charlize Theron at The Africa Center on November 12, 2019 in New York City.

When the news broke, Mo’Nique mentioned fellow comedian Amy Schumer to point out the gap in the amount of compensation that Netflix offered.

For 2017’s The Leather Special, Schumer was initially offered $11 million, but after learning what  Netflix paid comedians Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, Schumer and her representatives inquired about higher pay, and Netflix obliged. Rock and Chapelle both received reportedly $20million each.

Wanda Sykes

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 11: Wanda Sykes attends the ‘Netflix Is A Joke’ screening at Raleigh Studios on May 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Mo’Nique was thanked by comedian Wanda Sykes for using her voice. Sykes claimed that Netflix offered her even less.

“In stark contrast, when a white female comedian objected to her offer (given how much lower it was than comparable males), Netflix reconsidered and upped her offer,” Mo’Nique’s lawsuit states. Mo’Nique also said that Netflix blacklisted her in retaliation for speaking her truth.

The actress took to Instagram to announce that she had filed the lawsuit.

“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,” she wrote. “I chose to stand up.”


8,076 Likes, 901 Comments - Mo'nique (@therealmoworldwide) on Instagram: "LAWSUIT AGAINST NETFLIX!!!! I LOVE US 4 REAL!!"

Mo’Nique’s lawsuit also points out Netflix’s lack of diversity among the company’s senior leadership, a former executive’s “repeated used of the ‘n-word,’” and Netflix’s continued treatment of women executives in comparison to their male counterparts.

Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan.