Netflix and Mo'Nique settle lawsuit over alleged discrimination

The comedian claimed the company retaliated after she accused it of low-balling her in talks for a stand-up special.

Paul Archuleta via Getty Images

Netflix has settled a lawsuit from comedian and actor Mo'Nique that accused the company of racial and gender bias. Both parties this week moved to dismiss the suit, which was filed in 2019. “The matter has been amicably resolved," a representative for Mo'Nique told The Hollywood Reporter.

The two sides started talks over a comedy special in 2017, but Mo'Nique claimed the company low-balled her with an opening offer of $500,000 for a one-hour show to which Netflix would own the rights. The Oscar-winning performer called for a boycott of Netflix and said the offer was discriminatory, given the eight-figure deals some other comics (such as Chris Rock and Amy Schumer) reportedly received for their Netflix specials.

Netflix walked away from the discussions after Mo'Nique's assertions. "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," the suit stated. 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.

However, the judge presiding over the case determined in 2020 that Mo'Nique may have had a point. “Mo’Nique plausibly alleges that, after she spoke out and called her initial offer discriminatory, Netflix retaliated against her by shutting down its standard practice of negotiating in good faith that typically results in increased monetary compensation beyond the ‘opening offer’ and denying her increased compensation as a result,” Judge Andre Birotte Jr. wrote in a ruling that rejected an attempt by Netflix to dismiss the case.

Engadget has contacted Netflix for comment.