Actor Jeremy Tardy has announced that he has quit the Lionsgate-produced Netflix show Dear White People after calling the studio for discriminating against him during 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 Dear Whites for its fourth and final season due to my experience with Lionsgate and their racial discrimination practices, he wrote.
After being offered to return for several episodes, my team was told that our counter-offer would not be considered and that the initial offer was the best and final, he continued. This was disturbing news as one of my white colleagues being a true ally revealed that they too had received the same initial offer and were successful in negotiating a counter-offer. My team voiced this problem to Lionsgate and the producers maintained their position that the white actor was able to negotiate when I was not regardless of my credits and background.
Tardy then said that he, along with several other cast members, got together and decided to decline their initial Lionsgate offers. However, the studio offered side deals to some of these cast members and they made deals without the knowledge of the entire group.
Our position was to act forcefully as a unit in the negotiation process and, more importantly, to stand on principle because it is not just a monetary issue, he continued. We were all aware of the infamous wage disparities between people of color and our white colleagues on Netflix and Lionsgate shows; so that made it blatantly obvious. However, our collective bargaining power has been undermined by side deals and the lack of transparency. These tactics led some people to make 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 call their shameful practices of discrimination and racial inequality in terms of how they have historically undervalued and discredited people of color. Politically correct words and symbolic gestures do not relieve you of the day-to-day responsibility of doing business fairly and equitably.
A Lionsgate spokesperson denied the allegations and said Variety that the issue was a purely financial negotiation regarding the terms of the agreement. 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 debate on racial equality and social justice and we look forward to starting production on its 4th season.
Check out Tardys’ full article below.
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