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Mo’Nique’s Isaiah Washington Emails Opens New Can of Worms, Accusations of Racism Emerge

After Mo’Nique and husband-manager Sidney Hicks read an email from a former ABC attorney exposing the treatment of actor Isaiah Washington, the pair landed an interview with her and the details are scathing.

Kim Clayton Hershman forwarded Washington an email that was sent to ABC executive vice president Howard Davine, in which someone proclaimed the former “Grey’s Anatomy” star was “thrown under the bus” in favor of his co-star, Patrick Dempsy. The letter was read on “Mo’Nique and Sidney’s Open Relationship” podcast Thursday, March 15 and Washington told TMZ that Davine had indeed exhibited “racist, biased behavior.”

But there are more details about the Disney-owned network that are far more scathing than that.

Hershman explained Thursday, March 22 that a casting director wanted to bring Washington, who had been fired from “Grey’s” for reportedly calling a co-star a gay slur (something Hicks said was not the case), on for the 2016 series “The Catch.” However, they were told they couldn’t hire him. Enter Hershman, who was told by Davine that the network absolutely couldn’t do that. This despite the fact that ABC brought Washington back in 2014 for “Grey’s,” which apparently was an exception accompanied by hired security for his appearance. It also resulted in Washington getting what Hershman called “pennies” compared to what he made as a full-time cast member.

However, when casting called The CW where Washington was working on “The 100,” they heard he was “a joy to have, a thoughtful actor.” When Hershman told Davine this information, he said it didn’t matter. She also said she had a meeting with a higher up over the incident who she alleged was “livid” with her and said she “didn’t know what I was talking about.”

Then, Hershman spoke about what she called a “plantation mentality” of Hollywood.

“Cast members of a long-running series — cast members of color — not being given a raise in three years. That’s unprecedented. That’s unheard of,” Hershman says. “And then when we’re trying to make the deal … when I speak up about this, I am told, ‘Who else is going to hire them?’ … So to me, that is a racist dog whistle.”

The 22-year entertainment industry veteran added that her Black assistant, who came on board after a white one, had worked harder than the white woman but was paid less. And when Hershman confronted higher-ups about it, she was told the equal pay law signed by Barack Obama was “inactive.” The assistant was ultimately fired.

Yet another instance occurred when Disney held an event for full-time assistants and Hershman saw a group of Black women assistants — including a Yale graduate and two attorneys — sitting in the office. When Hershman asked them why they weren’t at the event enjoying themselves, they told her they couldn’t because they were temp workers.

“So when I say that it is a plantation mentality in terms of what you are paid is a gift, that is just my observation in viewing what occurred,” Hershman says.

Mo’Nique added that when people speak out, they get blackballed, which she previously said happened to her and Washington, with whom she co-starred in the indie drama “Blackbird.”

Hershman agreed.

“What I have seen and experienced is you must never complain. You must never stand up for yourself and if you do you are labeled as difficult, angry, demanding,” Hershman says. “But that is just another racist dog whistle.”

Hershman further explained how blackballing can occur in the industry when executives from TV networks move on to other television show services.

“You have a former ABC production exec who is now at Netflix,” she says. “I believe, the head of business affairs at Netflix. You have a former ABC business affairs exec who is now running business affairs at Paramount TV. You have a former ABC business affairs exec who is now the president of Sony TV. You have a former president of ABC Studios who is now the president of The CW. You have a former network head of business affairs who is now a president at Showtime. So think about this web. So if in fact, someone is looking to hire you, what they’re going to do is they’re going to reach out to their former colleges … and if their former colleague chooses to say, ‘This person was difficult, angry, demanding ‘  … in the case of a woman — dog whistle, in the case of a person of color — dog whistle, you know your job disappears and you have no idea why.”

Elsewhere, Hicks addressed a recent tweet by Monkeypaw Productions executive Matthew A. Cherry, which credited Mo’Nique’s public outcry over fair pay from Netflix for the streaming giant giving the young “Stranger Things” cast 12 times their salary for the upcoming season.

“Based upon what we’re seeing, it seems as if that mentality is being carried over,” Hicks said of the bias Hershman explained been passed on as executives move from network to network.



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