This past weekend actor and comedian Monique Angela Hicks posted a video to YouTube pleading with her fans to join her in a boycott of the online streaming service Netflix. She states, “gender bias and colour bias” as the main reasons for her boycott. She follows by explaining that she was offered a $500,000 contract to do a comedy special on Netflix, she then compares the size of her contract to that of comedian Amy Schumer, a white comedian, that was offered an $11,000,000 contract for a comedy special. This is true, Amy Schumer signed a deal for about $11 Million with Netflix for The Leather Special in 2016. Schumer continued to renegotiate her contract with Netflix citing that comedy legends Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle were both offered $20 million contracts for their Netflix Series’.
Schumer continued to argue that even though she knows she doesn’t deserve contracts of the same magnitude as Rock and Chappelle she still deserved “significantly more compensation.” While Monique’s request for a larger contract isn’t unwarranted, gender bias and color bias are not the reasons for her being offered a contract of this size. Monique goes on to state that when she asked Netflix why the magnitudes of their contracts were so different, Netflix stated that that’s what they think Monique would bring in terms of revenue and that they don’t use resume’s in determining one’s contract size. Netflix went on to say that Amy Schumer “Sold out Madison Square Garden twice and had a big movie over the summer.”
Monique’s approach to this issue seems quite narrow. Netflix’s claim seems reasonable even under closer examination. The bottom line is, Monique’s content and personality strongly differ from what Netflix see’s as profitable. It is well known that Netflix prefers to give comedians large contracts that have a well-established audience that will tune in to their special on Netflix. While Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle, and Amy Schumer have large fanbases that have remained popular through their representation in pop-culture, Monique just isn’t as popular amongst the demographic of people who own Netflix accounts. According to a study by Business Insider, 53% of Netflix account holders reside in the United States. This means that if Netflix offered Mo’Nique and contract less than 5% of the size of Amy Schumer’s then that means Netflix is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Mo’Nique will draw only a fraction of the audience compared to that of the other “comedy legends” they have offered comedy specials to.
This isn’t the first time Mo’Nique has come into the spotlight for something like this. Back in 2015 Mo’Nique accused Lee Daniels of blackballing her in Hollywood.