Gabrielle Union has filed a lawsuit against BET for violating the terms of the contract for her show Being Mary Jane.
The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles, alleges that Union entered into a contract for 13 episodes per season, which was set up to allow time for her movie obligations. The suit claims BET then sought to overload the shooting schedule by filming 10 episodes each for seasons 4 and 5 at once.
Part of the lawsuit reads:
“Although BET represented and assured Ms. Union before she agreed to perform in Being Mary Jane that it would never produce more than thirteen (13) episodes per season of the series, BET now wants to shoot twenty (20) episodes of the series back-to-back and cram all of the episodes into a single season in order to fraudulently extend the term of Ms. Union’s contract, with no additional consideration, and to deprive Ms. Union of her agreed-upon compensation for the next two seasons of Being Mary Jane. It is outrageous that BET would treat one of its biggest stars in this manner after all she has done to support the network and contribute to its success.”
Union’s high-profile lawyer Marty Singer (whose past clients include Angelina Jolie and Bill Cosby), told Deadline, “We filed this lawsuit because of BET’s outrageous conduct toward its No. 1 star on its highest rated show.”
According to the lawsuit, Union earns a salary of $150,000 per episode for Season 4, with an increase of $165,000 per episode for Season 5. Union is seeking a minimum of $3 million in damages and for BET to formally cap each season at 13 episodes.
It’s unclear how the lawsuit will affect the series moving forward. (In a statement, BET said, “While we hold Gabrielle Union in the highest esteem, we feel strongly that we are contractually well within our rights and are committed to reaching a swift and positive resolution in this matter.”) Season 4 was set to premiere in January 2017 with Michael Ealy joining the cast. Union is currently promoting her role in Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation.