By Daniella Silva and Diana Dasrath
LOS ANGELES — Oscar-winning actress and comedian Mo'Nique sued Netflix on Thursday, accusing the streaming giant of racial and gender discrimination by trying to drastically underpay her for a stand-up special after offering other stars tens of millions of dollars.
The suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses Netflix of giving a “biased, discriminatory” offer to Mo'Nique for a one-hour comedy special around November 2017.
In the 39-page filing, Mo’Nique calls out everyone from the top executives of the Netflix management team to highlighting the gender wage gap and lack of diversity in Hollywood.
“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,” according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and was filed on her behalf by attorneys at the deRubertis Law Firm, APC and Schimmel & Parks, APLC.
The comedian was offered $500,000 as a “talent fee,” an offer the lawsuit claims was significantly less than those offered to men and white women for the same type of stand-up original specials.
“When the talent was not a Black woman, Netflix offered to pay, and did pay, astronomically more than it pays to Black women like it offered to Mo'Nique,” the lawsuit said.
A Netflix spokesperson did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment. They have previously declined to address Mo'Nique's complaints, saying "Netflix does not comment on contract negotiations."
The suit said Netflix reportedly signed a $100 million deal in 2017 with comedian Jerry Seinfeld for two stand-up specials and an interview series. It also said Netflix reportedly signed a deal with comedian Dave Chapelle in 2016 worth $60 million in 2016 for three specials.
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