Over the weekend, Mo’Nique, an Academy Award-winning actor and comedian, took to Instagram to call out Netflix for offering to pay her $500,000 for a comedy special while her fellow comedians and colleagues got considerably more.
“I was offered $500,000 last week to do a comedy special,” she says in the video. “However, Amy Schumer was offered $11 million, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock $20 million.”
Amy Schumer, as Mo’Nique points out, was offered $11 million for a Netflix comedy special; after learning that Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock were offered more than double what she was, Schumer renegotiated her salary to $13 million and deferred to the genius of Chappelle and Rock, saying that the two men are “legends” and that she doesn’t “deserve” that money. When Mo’Nique brought up this discrepancy between herself and Schumer, Netflix reportedly said “Well, we believe that’s what Mo’Nique will bring. We said, ‘What about my résumé?’ They said, ‘We don’t go off of résumés.’”
Wanda Sykes, after catching wind of Mo’Nique’s allegatios, tweeted in support:
Armed with this new knowledge, Mo’Nique posted another video to Instagram, calling for a Netflix boycott and posing a very important question: why would Netflix offer Sykes and Mo’nique a collective $750,000 to Schumer’s eventual $13 million when the two women have much more experience and have been in the game for far longer?
According to Mo’Nique, the reason Netlfix gave for giving Schumer so much more money sounds suspiciously contradictory: when Mo’Nique questioned Schumer’s salary, Netflix mentioned her “huge summer movie” and the fact that she’d sold out Madison Square Garden twice. That, as Mo’Nique notes, is a résumé. An impressive one, in a world where female comedians rarely attain the kind of mainstream success as their male counterparts, but a résumé just the same. Mo’Nique won an Academy Award and has been working in the industry for some time. Also, she’s funny. Here she is in a clip from The Queens of Comedy, filmed in 2001.
Mo’Nique’s been in the game for a while—and while her career has taken a different trajectory than Schumer’s, it’s worth thinking about why.