Netflix has settled a lawsuit filed against them in 2019 by comedian and actor Mo’Nique who accused the company of racial and gender bias and of systematically underpaying Black women.
Earlier this week both parties moved to dismiss the suit, according to a court filing. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
The 2019 suit alleged that “Netflix’s treatment of Mo’Nique began with a discriminatory low-ball offer and ended with a blacklisting act of retaliation.”
According to the complaint, Netflix began discussions about a comedy special with Mo’Nique in 2017. Netflix’s offer was $500,000 for a one-hour show that the company would have complete control over, including owning the copyright and retaining all audio-only rights to the show. The negotiations didn’t get far because Mo’Nique said the $500,000 was an insult. The Oscar-winning actress declined and protested the initial offer, which led Netflix to walk away from negotiations.
In November of last year, Mo’Nique filed a gender and racial discrimination suit against Netflix for refusing to continue negotiations beyond its initial opening offer. She accused the streaming company of systematically underpaying Black women, citing the tens of millions reportedly paid to Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais, Ellen DeGeneres and Dave Chappelle for their Netflix specials.
“The offer made to Mo’Nique was merely an ‘opening offer’ from which there was an expectation — both by Netflix and Mo’Nique — of continued negotiations likely leading to increased compensation being offered to Mo’Nique,” read the complaint. “Once Mo’Nique engaged in protected conduct by protesting the discriminatory offer, Netflix shut down any further negotiations and refused to negotiate in good-faith consistent with its standard practices.”
At the time, Netflix argued there were no legal grounds to support the claim that a company declining to negotiate in good faith equates to discrimination or retaliation.
“We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit,” a spokesperson for Netflix said in response to the lawsuit.
District Court Judge Andre Birotte Jr. sided with Mo’Nique, saying that Netflix’s failure to negotiate after their opening offer, consistent with its normal practice, constitutes 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.
Neither Mo’Nique nor Netflix have released any specifics regarding the terms of the agreement they have reached.
“The matter has been amicably resolved,” a representative for Mo’Nique told The Hollywood Reporter.