Not Everyone Supports Mo’Nique’s Netflix Boycott Over Hollywood Pay Inequality

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Written by Dana Sanchez


Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Monique Angela Hicks — stage name, Mo’Nique — got mixed results when she asked fans on social media over the weekend to boycott Netflix.

Not everyone sympathized with Mo’Nique on her reasons for wanting the boycott, but the conversation continues to make headlines around the world almost a week later. Detractors included fellow comedienne Wanda Sykes.

Mo’Nique accuses the video streaming giant of offering to pay her just a fraction of what it gave other well-known entertainers for their comedy specials.

“I was offered $500,000 last week to do a comedy special,” Mo’Nique said in a video message on Instagram. “However, Amy Schumer was offered $11 million, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock $20 million.”

TMZ founder Harvey Levin interviewed Mo’Nique about the Netflix boycott. He asked her why she didn’t negotiate better, or take her talents elsewhere if she didn’t like the amount Netflix offered her, Decider reported:

“I’m a black woman in Hollywood, Harvey,” she responded. “Why should I have to take it somewhere else when my comedian brothers and sisters have been given these offers based off of their resumes and their tenure in the business?”

She immediately followed up with this: “When you look at my resume, I am the most decorated alive. I am the most decorated comedian alive.” (She might not be wrong, either: Name me another comedian alive who has won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a SAG, a BAFTA and an NAACP Image award?)

Movie and TV heads are increasingly sensitive to public shaming of gender and racial pay inequities, according to Think Progress. The imbalance is becoming more transparent as more female and racial minority actors raise the issue and press for higher compensation for their performances:

The dramatic pay disparity Mo’Nique railed against is all too common in the entertainment industry and her complaint comes at a time when Hollywood’s ugly injustices toward women are bursting into public view. For Mo’Nique and many other women of color, their challenges are all the greater because they’re easily labeled as “difficult” or “hard to work with” when they speak out about injustices they encounter. But no matter how abrasive her personality may be, Mo’Nique’s talent is unquestioned and her concerns are valid enough to be heard.

Hollywood has a reputation for being progressive, and that reputation has helped conceal its “mercenary practices,” Alyssa Rosenberg wrote in the Washington Post. The disparity that Mo’Nique has brought to light is “a window into the entertainment industry’s often opaque logic, and how hard it will be to change things. Bad press might get Netflix to change some of its behavior temporarily, but even then it would take a lot to mobilize a meaningful number of the streaming service’s almost 100 million subscribers into a boycott significant enough to commit the company to pay equity in all cases.”

Actors like Mo’Nique have taken the conversations around pay inequity and sexual harassment to a new level, Rosenberg said. But “they may find that fame only goes so far to combat the basic dynamics of their industry.”

Netflix boycott
Mo’Nique. Photo Paul Archuleta Getty