Comedian and actress Mo’Nique gains the upper hand in her lawsuit against streaming giant Netflix as a judge allows her case to proceed.
According to USA Today, Mo’Nique earned a major win in her race and gender discrimination lawsuit this week after a federal court ruled that she “plausibly” claimed the streaming platform illegally retaliated against her after rejecting a “lowball” offer to do a comedy special.
The decision, ruled by U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr., noted that the comedian raised a “novel theory” after arguing that Netflix’s alleged failure to re-negotiate an “opening offer” — as standard protocol in the industry — constitutes an “adverse employment action,” USA Today reports.
“…Regardless of whether plaintiff will ultimately prevail on (her) claims, dismissing this case under Rule 12(b)(6) is not appropriate,” the judge revealed in his decision. “Plaintiff’s complaint may raise a novel issue, but that does not justify dismissing it at this stage.”
Mo’Nique’s pursuit of suing Netflix became a huge public spectacle in 2017, but that didn’t deter her from seeking justice.
“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,” the lawsuit argued.
Her lawsuit isn’t just a fight for herself, but other Black woman comics who have experienced similar discrimination compared to their white counterparts.
“Netflix courted Mo’Nique, saw what she had to offer and made her an offer,” said Mo’Nique’s lawyers. “But the offer Netflix made Mo’Nique wreaked [sic] of discrimination; it perpetuated the pay gap suffered by Black women.”
According to Deadline, Netflix landed itself in hot water that same year after serious allegations of institutional racial and sex discrimination. Mo’Nique said not only was their refusal to give her a respectable offer an insult but illegal.
Mo’Nique’s lawyer, David deRubertis, spoke on the big win in a statement:
“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.”
Netflix and Mo’Nique’s lawsuit heats up amid America fighting several battles against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and police violence. This lawsuit is just another stark reminder of the unfair gender pay gap.