Mo’Nique (Photo credit: Splash News)
The Precious actress filed documents last year in which she alleged the streaming service had offered her significantly less money for a comedy special in comparison to her fellow male and white comedians and the on Thursday, July 16, 2020, the Central District court in California denied the broadcaster’s attempt to have the case dismissed.
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.”
The lawsuit claimed Netflix offered the 52-year-old star $500,000 for a comedy special in 2018 and refused to negotiate further, even though they had offered Amy Schumer “26 times more per show than Mo’Nique.”
The documents argued: “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.”
After complaining, Netflix allegedly failed to follow the usual practice in Hollywood and stopped negotiations.
Mo’Nique’s lawyer, David deRubertis, explained Netflix wanted to shut down “good-faith negotiations because she raised concerns about pay discrimination is not retaliation under the law.”
He said: “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.”
Netflix has yet to comment on the ruling but previously said they take accusations of discrimination very seriously.
They vowed to fight the lawsuit and insisted their offer had been fair.