Mo'Nique to Shoot Her First Netflix Comedy Special After Settling Racial and Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Mo'Nique Headshot
Dash McIntosh

The special is set to film later this year in Atlanta and comes after a years-long standoff between the Oscar winner and streamer.

Mo'Nique is coming home to Netflix! On Tuesday, the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning actress and comedian announced she will soon be shooting a fresh original comedy special for the streamer. 

In a video posted to the streamer’s Twitter account and the Strong Black Lead initiative account, the 54-year-old tells fans that she is "so excited to share that I'll be shooting my first Netflix comedy special."

She also reminds viewers that she will be reuniting with friend and director Lee Daniels for the Netflix film The Deliverance. "You won’t wanna miss either of them, so y'all stay tuned,” the GRAMMY nominee continues. “Thank y'all my sweet babies. I love us for real.”

The special is set to film later this year in Atlanta, with additional details to be announced in the coming months.

News of the comedy special marks a surprising, yet happy resolution to the years-long standoff between the star and the streamer. Last month, Mo'Nique -- whose legal name is Monique Hicks -- and Netflix agreed to dismiss the lawsuit she brought against them back in November 2019, claiming racial and gender discrimination. In court documents obtained by ET, the star and streamer agreed to drop the suit "including without limitation all claims alleged therein, with prejudice, with each party to bear her or its own costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees." No further details of the settlement were disclosed.

In the November 2019 filing, the comedian alleged that when she and Netflix began discussions for the comedian to film a comedy special to air on the streamer, they made an offer that she found "biased, discriminatory." It was reportedly an opening offer of $500,000 for a one-hour show that Netflix would have complete control over, including owning the copyright and retaining all audio-only rights to the special.

"Netflix reportedly offered or paid Rock, Chappelle, DeGeneres and Gervais 40 times more per show than it offered Mo'Nique, and it offered Schumer 26 times more per show than Mo'Nique," the lawsuit alleged, according to CBS News. "In short, Netflix's offer to Mo'Nique perpetuates the drastic wage gap forced upon Black women in the American workforce."

"Despite Mo'Nique’s extensive résumé and documented history of comedic success, when Netflix presented her with an offer of employment for an exclusive stand-up comedy special, Netflix made a low-ball offer that was only a fraction of what Netflix paid other (non-Black female) comedians,” the lawsuit continues. "When the talent was not a Black woman, Netflix offered to pay, and did pay, astronomically more than it pays to Black women like it offered to Mo'Nique."

The suit also noted a general pattern of gender and racial discrimination at the streamer, highlighting such instances as when Claire Foy was paid significantly less than Matt Smith for The Crown. It also referenced a $20 million deal for Ellen DeGeneres and a $40 million deal for Ricky Gervais.

At the time, Netflix said in a statement, "We care deeply about inclusion, equity and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously. We believe our opening offer to Mo'Nique was fair -- which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit." 

Clearly, both parties were content enough with the settlement to enter into a new business agreement.

Mo’Nique has entered a particularly healing season as she also recently mended fences with Daniels, whom she has been at odds with since they worked together on the Academy Award-winning film Precious in 2009. After winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2010 for her critically acclaimed performance as the titular character's abusive mother, Mary, the 54-year-old comedian made headlines when she claimed she was "blackballed" from Hollywood, naming Daniels as one of the culprits.

Nearly 13 years since they began feuding, the director and star have reconciled and reunited for the’ upcoming thriller, The Deliverance.

Mo’Nique will star as "a social worker who helps a family through a series of exorcisms" alongside Andra DayGlenn Close, Aunjanue Ellis, Caleb McLaughlin, Tasha Smith, Omar Epps, Demi Singleton, Miss Lawrence and Anthony B. Jenkins. In the film, which is inspired by a terrifying true story, Day plays Ebony, a mother who fights for her life, her faith, and the souls of her children after discovering their new home is haunted by a demonic presence.