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‘Why is My Icon, Legend Different Than the Others?’: Mo’Nique Addresses Dave Chappelle’s Successful Netflix Boycott and the Backlash She Received When She Tried to Do the Same

In 2018, legendary comedienne Mo’Nique called upon her fans to boycott Netflix after accusing the streaming giant of being “color bias” and “gender bias.” The “Parkers” star claimed that she was offered only $500,000 for a comedy special while her white counterpart and fellow comedienne Amy Schumer, who is newer to the comedy scene than Mo’Nique, was paid $13 million. Meanwhile, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle received $20 million for their specials. Ultimately, Mo’Nique’s attempt at hurting Netflix failed, and she subsequently sued the entertainment provider in 2019. 

In November of last year, actor and comedian Dave Chappelle asked his fans — whom he deemed his real bosses — for a similar favor. During an 18-minute clip titled “Unforgiven,” posted to his Instagram page on Nov. 24, the star asked fans not to stream his self-titled sketch show “Chappelle’s Show,” which had been streaming on Netflix. Much like Mo’Nique’s case, there were allegations of pay discrepancies. The 47-year-old alleged that he had not been paid for his series, telling fans to “Boycott me. Boycott ‘Chappelle’s show.’ ” He added, “Do not watch it unless they pay me.” However, unlike Mo’Nique, Chappelle, in the end, succeeded. 

Mo’Nique addresses why she believes her Netflix boycott was unsuccessful in comparison to Dave Chappelle. Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for Roc Nation/ Barry King/Getty Images

In a follow-up show, the actor told audience members, “I asked you to stop watching the show and thank God almighty for you, you did. You made that show worthless because, without your eyes, it’s nothing.” He added, “And when you stopped watching it, they called me. And I got my name back, and I got my license back, and I got my show back, and they paid me millions of dollars. Thank you very much.”

During a recent interview on “Get Into It with Tami Roman,” the former “Basketball Wives” star asked Mo’Nique why she believed though both cases were very similar, she did not get what she wanted in the end. 

“Remember we used to say Black women are at the bottom of the totem pole? We’re now under it,” the actress told Roman. Mo’Nique believes that the Black community seemingly has selective hearing and is picky about which issues it supports. She continued, “There was a tape that I played to the world where y’all heard a Black man saying what I did to you was wrong and when my movie comes out, I’m going to apologize. Y’all heard the tape, but for some reason, our community overlooked this man saying what I did. I violated you” The man Mo’Nique taped was director and actor Tyler Perry. 

“So, when you say, ‘why is the response different,’ it’s because we’re now under the totem pole, we’re not even at the bottom — that’s why.” She added, “When I said ‘listen, I gotta stand up against Netflix.’ I have to because when you first started off, you said you’ve done everything. When I did Kevin Hart, Kevin Hart introduced me as a legend, icon. So why is it that my legend and my icon is so different than the others.”

Mo’Nique claimed that Perry, director Lee Daniels and Oprah Winfrey, whom she had been feuding with, remained silent because they knew society would criticize the actress. “If we stay silent, it’ll just go away, and we’ll let the Black community tear her apart,” she said. “Y’all know how we do each other. We don’t have to say nothing.”

Netflix attempted to have the actress’ case against them thrown out. However, in July 2020, it was reported that U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. denied the company’s motion for a dismissal in a Los Angeles court.

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