Actor Jeremy Tardy announced that he quit the Lionsgate-produced Netflix show “Dear White People” after calling out the studio for discriminating against him when it came to contract negotiations.
The actor, who played the character of Rashid Bakr on the hit show, took to Facebook to announce his departure from the series. “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 wrote.
“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. 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 then said that he, along with several other cast members, came together and decided to turn down their initial offers from Lionsgate. However, the studio gave “side deal offers” to some of those cast members and they took deals without the knowledge of the whole group.
“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 continued. “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. These tactics led to some individuals taking deals before the collective group received a fair and equitable negotiation process.”
“These companies have recently released statements and even donations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Tardy wrote. “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. Politically correct lip service and symbolic gestures do not absolve you of the daily responsibility of doing business in a fair and equitable manner.”
A Lionsgate spokesperson denied the allegations and told Variety that the matter “was a purely financial negotiation regarding deal terms. 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.”
Check out Tardy’s full post below.