Ms. Mo’Nique, we are so sorry…
January 19th, 2018 Comedian, New York Times Bestselling Author, Talk-show Host, and Oscar-Winning Actress Mo’Nique posted a video to Instagram where she called for a boycott of Netflix because of “Gender Bias and Color Bias.”
In the video, Mo’Nique expresses outrage at being offered $500,000 to do a Comedy Special for Netflix. She then explains that Amy Schumer was offered $11 Million for her Netflix Comedy Special, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle were offered $20 Million for their specials.
I immediately jumped up, ready for the #NETFLIXSOWHITE & #NEFLIXBOYCOTT to be assaulting my timelines.
Mo’Nique is a household name. I grew up watching her and never stopped. After all, Mo’Nique is one of 18 African American’s who has ever received an Academy Award (2010). She is the 4th African American Woman in history to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the 5th Woman of Color in history to receive any Award from the Academy.
I was shocked and disappointed; to see that my; her own people did not — only not — support her but helped Netflix silently handle the problem.
First, Mo’Nique was labeled as Greedy and a Liar by people she knew and her own,community; the people that still watch reruns of The Parkers. It was alleged that she was offered $3 Million for a Netflix Comedy Special, and that she turned it down. The lie was, she turned it down because of the difference in pay between her and her male counterparts, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.
It was further alleged that Mo’Nique felt that Netflix referred to her as a legend and so she demanded to get paid the same as the male legends.
Mo’Nique quickly quieted that with her January 31st Instagram post; an email from Netflix about the deal she was offered.
Dated December 2017, the email confirms that she was offered $500,000 for a 1 hour Netflix Special with a production budget of $310,000. The letter went on to detail what Netflix expected for their $810,000 Mo’Nique Comedy Special, making Netflix look worse. Netflix expected for the total of $810,000; they would “4) For 12 Months after our premiere, Mo’Nique cannot tape or negotiate with any third party concerning her next comedy special; after this 12 months, we get first negotiations/first refusal right for her next special. 5) For 24 months after our premiere, we ask that Mo’Nique not perform or use the material from our special in any recorded program (audio-only or audio-visual work), then we ask for a first negotiation/first refusal right after the 24 months in the event she does want to use the material elsewhere… …7) Mo’Nique agrees to market/promote the special. 8) Netflix retains creative and business controls including choice of production company and final cut…”
In essence, Netflix would own Mo’Nique for two years after her Special Premiered for $500,000.
Later, rumors of Mo’Nique being difficult to work with started surfacing as if to explained her being-so-called-blackballed and Netflix lowballed offer. I, personally had never actually seen, read or heard anyone say Mo’Nique is difficult to work with, until Mo’Nique told us, that she was informed, that she was difficult to work with, and she’d been blackballed. I think we forget; it was Mo’Nique who brought this to light before anyone else. Just watch her Periscope and you’ll understand if you don’t.
Since the beginning of time, there have been rumors about how difficult actors and especially actresses are and/or can be. Hell, I heard the legendary Cicely Tyson is a bitch on set and some shit about the Waynes Brothers that has me lifting an eyebrow. And we all heard the rumors about Martin and Gina…
Wasn’t Tisha Campbell Martin blackballed, but suffered in silence until My Wife and Kids?
Or shall I say, Hollywood took her off punishment?
How about this question?
Would fellow Academy Award Winning Actress and Comedian Whoopi Goldberg (1990) at any point in her career, Post-Oscar, have been offered $500,000 by Netflix to do a special?
I think we all will agree the answer to that is, “Hell Naw.”
According to IMDb Mo’Nique has 57 Award Wins, one of which is an Oscar; heavily supporting the claim, that she is “the most decorated comedian alive.” Even when you think about it in regards to her success. She is one of like, 18 African American’s ever to win an Oscar, 5 of which are comedians. Putting her amongst the ranks of Comedic Legends Whoopi Goldberg (Academy Award Win in 1990), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Academy Award Win in 1996) and Jamie Foxx (Academy Award Win in 2004). And when it comes to all and all awards won Mo’Nique’s 57 beats out Whoopi Goldberg’s 55.
In fact, it wasn’t until March 4th, 2018 that Mo’Nique’s assertion that she is “the most decorated comedian alive” can now be called into question. Jordan Peele won an Academy Award for his movie Get Out (2017). According to IMDb, he has won a total of 72 awards, making him “the most decorated comedian alive” and Mo’Nique the second. But I wouldn’t regard Mr. Peele as a legend.
Mo’Nique however, is a legend.
Just like we do with Martin, we tune into The Parkers and watch her chase the professor around.
We grew up on Mo’Nique.
We watched her weightloss and her thoughts on skinny bitches evolve.
We watched her Talk-Show (2009–2011), and we read her books Skinny Cooks Can’t Be Trusted (2006), Beacon Hills High (2008) and Skinny Women Are Evil: Note of a Big Girl in a Small-Minded World (2010).
Now, lets be honest, we all know if Mo’Nique had a Netflix Comedy Special, we all gone be getting us a free trial subscription to Netflix — we wasn’t gone pay for come the next month — like we do everytime Dave Chappelle comes off hiatus.
This all boils down to what we think our Black Women are worth. We answer that question by being insensitive, ignorant of the facts and casting stones at our own, helping the media, which does that very well without our added support. Somehow, even in this Journal, Mo’Nique has been demonized and attacked for asserting her worth.
She is not the first Black Woman in Hollywood to be called difficult. I still hear stories of chance meetings with celebrities where people are shocked at how nice, normal or human they turn out to be.
The numbers are there. The proof is out, and it only takes a quick google search to find it. I have been following Mo’Nique on Periscope since I heard she was going in on Oprah and ‘em. I have watched her and listened; and to be honest, I am deeply disappointed in the response from our own people. Especially when the evidence is sitting there in our faces.
Wonda Sykes, another of our Comedy Legends (who does not have an Oscar) tweeted that Netflix offered her “less than half” of Mo’Nique’s $500,000.
I guess Wonda Sykes must be even more difficult to work with than Mo’Nique. Or, it just might be that we have been waiting for Ricky Gervais’ Stand-up Comedy special, which Netflix just recently paid $20 Million for each of his two stand-up specials.
Maybe I’m ignorant, but, who, who the hell is Ricky Gervais?
Am I even spelling that right?
According to IMDb, I am.
With no Academy Award wins to date, Ricky Gervais has 25 award wins and is known for being a writer on the Office (2001–2003), The Invention of Lying (2009), Extras (2005–2007) and Ghost Town (2008). I mean, I know what the Office is, and I know it’s popular, I guess.
But can we really say anyone was expecting or anticipating Ricky Gervais’ Comedy Special?
I guess he must be a White Comedy Legend, who we know are judged by different standards.
Better insight on this would be the four-year deal Shonda Rhimes’ signed with Netflix for $100 Million (August 2017), and the five-year deal Ryan Murphy signed totaling $300 Million (2018).
With shows like Grey’s Anatomy (2005-), Scandal (2012–2018), How To Get Away With Murder (2014-) to name a few, I can’t help but wonder what the excuse would be here. Is American Horror Story (2015-), Feud (2017) and Glee (2009–2015) worth more than ABC’s TGIT line up, which Shonda has been dominating for more than a decade?
I don’t think an extra year on a contract between two powerhouse producers should be a $300 Million difference.
I do not think Shonda Rhimes is worth $200 Millions less than Ryan Murphy.
However, when we attack Mo’Nique for speaking up and out, it tells us what our own people think. It says that we think Mo’Nique; our sister, is worth less than a goofy white comedian. It says that we think our best and brightest, such as Shonda, is not worth more than, or even equal too that of the white people doing the same thing. Even when she might be doing it better.
I mean, what will it really hurt to stand by our sisters? What more do our sisters need to do to gain our support? How much more do they need to give to get a fair hand? Or even to not blatantly be disrespected and disregarded by their own people?
With that being said, I know I am only one person. Yet and still, I stand by my sister Mo’Nique and ‘Yes’ that means I will be boycotting Netflix. #NoFreeTrialsForMe
And Mo’Nique, I would like to extend my deepest and most sincere apology on behalf of our people, for they know not what they do.
Keep fighting sister and stay strong. I will be reaching out to you for an interview.