Although you may have come across some must-watch movies and TV series while scrolling through Netflix, one hit show you won’t see is Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You.”
Coel took her dramatic comedy series to BBC and HBO after turning down a $1 million deal with the popular streaming service.
According to Pop Sugar, Coel, who’s the show’s lead actress, creator, writer, and director, rejected the deal with Netflix after a disagreement over ownership, in which Netflix denied Coel’s request for a percentage of the copyright.
Corel’s moment of clarity came during a call with a Netflix representative where she asked for five percent of her show’s copyright.
“There was just silence on the phone,” Coel told Vulture. “And she said, ‘It’s not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it’s not a big deal.’”
Vulture reports Coel’s negotiation with Netflix went as low as 0.5 percent ownership of the copyright. Yet, the Netflix representative told Coel she’d have to run it past her higher-ups. Before ending the call, Coel recalls the representative applauding her on her demand to hold an ownership percentage.
“Michaela? I just want you to know I’m really proud of you. You’re doing the right thing,” Coel remembers the representative saying.
Not only did Coel reject the Netflix deal, but Pop Sugar reports she also fired her U.S. agency, CAA, who pushed her to take the Netflix deal. She later discovered the agency would make a lump sum on the back end of the deal.
In the spirit of knowing her worth, Coel pitched her show to BBC and secured the deal she desired. BBC offered her full creative control, rights to her work, and an executive producer title.
Well done, Michaela.