“I am calling out their shameful practices of discrimination and racial inequality with regard to how they have historically undervalued and lowballed people of color.”
“Dear White People” star Jeremy Tardy says he will not be returning to the Netflix series for its fourth and final season due to his negative experience with Lionsgate.
On Friday, the actor, 29, posted a lengthy Twitter thread in which he called out Lionsgate, who produces the series, accusing the studio of “shameful practices of discrimination and racial inequality.”
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Tardy, who starred as Rashid Bakr on the Netflix comedy, recalled the events that led to his exit, claiming there were “blatantly obvious” pay disparities between the Black and white actors.
“Unfortunately I will not be joining NETFLIX’s ‘Dear White People’ for its fourth and final season due to my experience with Lionsgate and their practices of racial discrimination,” he began.
“After being offered to return for several episodes my team was notified that our counter offer would not be considered and that the initial offer was the ‘best and final,” he continued. “This news was disturbing because one of my white colleagues — being a true ally — revealed that they too had received the same initial offer and had successfully negotiated a counter offer.”
Tardy added, “My team expressed this issue to Lionsgate and the producers maintained their position that the white actor was able to negotiate while I was not — regardless of my credits and experience.”
Tardy said he and six of his cast members “banded together” on August 30th to collectively “pass on” the studio’s initial offers.
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“Our stance was to move powerfully as a unit in the negotiation process and, more importantly, to stand on principle because this is not simply a monetary matter,” he explained. “We were all aware of the notorious pay disparities between people of color and our white colleagues on Netflix and Lionsgate shows; so this made it blatantly obvious.”
“However, our collective bargaining power was undermined with side deal offers and lack of transparency,” Tardy added. “These tactics led to some individuals taking deals before the collective group received a fair and equitable negotiation process.”
Ultimately, Tardy accused Lionsgate and Netflix of “hypocrisy” due to their public support of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the fact that it happened on “Dear White People,” a show which focuses on racial injustice and systemic racism in America.
“These companies have recently released statements and even donations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I am calling out their shameful practices of discrimination and racial inequality with regard to how they have historically undervalued and lowballed people of color,” Tardy tweeted. “Politically correct lip service and symbolic gestures do not absolve you of the daily responsibility of doing business in a fair and equitable manner.”
“The fact that this has occurred behind the scenes of a show which purports to address systemic issues of racism and discrimination displays the very epitome of hypocrisy,” he concluded. “Lionsgate. Netflix. I see you. We see you.”
According to Deadline, Tardy has been written off the series.
Lionsgate responded to Tardy’s accusations in a statement.
“This was a purely financial negotiation regarding deal terms,” the studio told Deadline. “Lionsgate is committed to equal treatment for all talent regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation. We are very proud of ‘Dear White People’ and its place in the national conversation about racial equality and social justice and we look forward to beginning production on its 4th season.”
TooFab has reached out to Netflix and Lionsgate for further comment.
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