Before diving into the latest Netflix controversy, Mo’Nique is her typical self: bright-eyed, excited, light-hearted, and animated, despite a claim and a feeling that she’s being undervalued in the eyes of the media. In the eyes of Netflix, in particular.
Sway Calloway welcomes the Oscar-winning actress onto an episode of his morning show, setting the tone for a smooth interview by paying his respects and making a few jokes. “It’s beyond business for us. It’s family now,” he says. “I’m a big fan of hers. I’m a fan of her work. Award-winning actress, comedian, actor—Imma put that in there. You know I gotta respect because she spit more bars on this show than a lot of these A-list rappers that be scared to rhyme on this show.”
Mo’Nique laughs and refutes where she sees fit. Tone X and Heather B sit alongside the comedian-actress extraordinaire and they all speak freely and coolly but there’s an elephant in the room.
Last week (Jan. 19), Monique took to her Instagram account to talk about her recent offer from Netflix. In the video, she mentions that she was offered $500k which she can’t be mad at but comparatively, the offer is disrespectful. She then urges fans to boycott Netflix. The comedy veteran called attention to deals carried out by peers with the streaming giant. “Amy Schumer was offered $11 million, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle $20 million… when we asked Netflix to explain the difference, they said, ‘Well that’s what we think Mo’Nique would bring.”
While they understand that there may be some color and gender bias lurking in these Netflix deals, many fans have been hesitant to stand with Mo’Nique. She used this interview with Sway to state her rationale and clear any murkiness on her stance.
The segue into the conversation occurred only three minutes in. Joking about Beyoncé and J-Lo stealing her dance moves, she said, “I love all of ‘em but you got to give me mine. But goddammit. Nobody wants to give me my credit.”
In breaking it down, Mo’Nique explains that the first insult was that Netflix sent two of their representatives to one of her shows like an audition as if she hadn’t proven herself this far into her career. They liked the show but only offered $500k so Mo’Nique’s husband/manager asked for further explanation. Robbie Praw, Director of Original Standup Comedy Programming at Netflix, reportedly refused to meet with the duo about the matter until they noted that it felt like discrimination in multiple areas.
“We understand what Mo’Nique’s done and, by the way, Mo’Nique’s a legend,” were Robbie Praw’s words, according to the comedienne. But her argument was that Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock are “legends,” too so the deal makes no sense to her. Praw told Mo’Nique that he would negotiate with his team but when he returned, he decided that they were “too far off in numbers” so the offer was retracted entirely.
“The reason why I’m asking that we boycott Netflix is because when Netflix says I am a legend, Amy Schumer says Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock are legends, and I shouldn’t get what they’re getting and if you put out resume’s side-by-side and the tenure…”
She called attention to the general upset when the underpayment of Michelle Williams in comparison to Mark Wahlberg for the All the Money in the World film was discovered. “My question is, ‘Who’s gonna be up in arms about this?’” she said.
“I am the most decorated comedian alive,” she went on. “If I accepted $500k, what does Tiffany Haddish have coming. If I accept that, what does the black female comedian have coming? Because what they will say is, ‘Mo’Nique accepted this and she’s got that.' So what do they have coming?”
Ultimately, Mo’Nique believes that the number negotiated is related to racial bias, gender bias, and the 2017 incident with Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Lionsgate when the actress claimed that she was blackballed.
“The buzz is she’s difficult, she’s demanding, and she’s black—we definitely don’t have to respect her,” Mo’Nique says of Netflix’s collective decision.
The actress continues to stand by her claims regarding the boycott of Netflix and having been blackballed by Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, and Tyler Perry. It seems like she’s only after justice here.
See the entire interview below.