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Mo'Nique's Netflix Boycott & The Art of Negotiation

February 5, 2018

Boycott Netflix?!?! Is Monique off her rocker or does she have some valid points...?

 

Whether you're already in the know or trying to find out, here’s some perspective. Let’s get in to it….

 

What’s the scoop?

 

On Jan 21st award winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique accused Netflix of gender and racial bias and took her story to social media. First on Youtube and later discussed on Sway’s Universe Show on Siriusxm.

 

**Pretty lengthy (58.47 mins) clip but worth watching if you’re interested in additional obstacles she’s faced in Hollywood within the last year.  However, if you’re pressed for time fast forward to (4:54) that’s when she starts discussing the Netflix drama.**

 

No time or interest in clicking the link? Well here’s a breakdown - see I’m here to give the people what they want…. Options and simplicity.

  • Netflix attempted to do a comedic special featuring Mo’Nique and offered her 500K to do the special

  • Her team asked for the rationale behind such a low offer, and referenced other comedians who had recently snagged offers much higher specific examples referenced were Dave Chappelle &  Chris Rock who received 20 million dollars (yup- you read that right 20 Million dollars!!) 

  • Netflix initial response was that they do deals based on what they anticipate an artist will bring to their audience, they don’t go off of a person’s resume.

  • Mo’nique’s team pushed on listing her comedic cred: decorated comedian, internationally loved, etc...basically like give me my props

  • Netflix reiterated that they don’t look at a person’s resume but quoted the fact that Amy Schumer sold out Madison Square Garden (20,000+ seat venue)

  • Ultimately Netflix felt that there’s too much of a gap in what Mo’Nique wanted and what they were willing to pay. So they said thanks but no thanks

End result

 

Mo’Nique’s failed negotiation resulted in a loss of 500K.

 

Is Mo'Nique's Case Different?

In reviewing all that we know about what transpired, the first thing that popped into my head was that i’ve heard this song several times before. It's been in heavy rotation over the last few years,  this was just the remix. How many times have we seen this happen in Hollywood? Too many times to count especially within the African American circuit. See, the thing is this type of thing happens all the time even to those of us that don’t live in LALA land. Does it make it right? No, but unfortunately it is a reality.  The gender and racial gap exist in all industries and at every level.  We know this so we’ve got to arm ourselves with the tools to navigate through it.  The reality is what Mo’Nique experienced is no different from what many women in general experience at the corporate level. Woman  historically have always had lower salaries than their male counterparts and even when we do make strides, African American women still are faced with the uphill struggle of getting their due in equal pay.

 

Case in point: i know a sista I’ll call her “Charlotte” that recently secured a 40 million dollar account renewal for the company that she works for in the telecommunications industry - I’ll also point out that it’s a 2 year deal so in essence the company stands to get 80 million in revenue and this sista was only compensated a mere $7,500 for securing the bag for that company!!!! Yup you read that right. $7,500 What percentage of the deal is that?

 

I’m no mathematician but i know it’s not even 1% of the deal.  For those of you that are breaking out your calculators and using the multiplication method keep adding zeros…

 

This is not to say that we women haven’t had some wins when it comes to the pay equity gap in corporate america.  That paradigm only just started to tilt a bit recently with those of us being a bit more aggressive in our art of negotiation.  See in Corp America, companies get jolted in action when you play the gender or race card because lately it’s all about the D word… Diversity!  Hollywood just hasn’t caught on the bandwagon yet.

 

Now you’ve got all these companies taking a broader approach, rolling out company wide processes piggy backing off of the recent  Pay Equity legislation which is a great step in the right direction but even with this new legislation will there ever truly be equal standards around pay? My answer is no! Especially if we're not savvy with our negotiation skills.   See we women tend to accept what’s offered, especially minorities. We’ve got responsibilities, homes to help support, or perhaps we're the sole provider, mouths to feed, etc so when a salary is offered the majority of us don’t question it and for those of us that do - what happens is, in our mind we know we’re toeing the line of staying within our ideals vs needing to eat. Knowing that most of us don’t have F*ck you money (adequate savings that enable us to easily walk away from inadequate offers in salary) we relent rather quickly and accept what is offered.

 

The Art of Negotiation

So Do I think Mo’Nique is off her rocker? NO! I think she could’ve negotiated her deal a bit better. You might be saying to yourself- but she tried. Yes she did, and i’m here to tell you the art of negotiating often times can be a mind f*ck. It’s annoying and can get nasty yet when done right all parties achieve the outcomes they want.  Here’s what she could’ve done differently:

  • Make it about her and not about others! Yeah she knew what the other comedians allegedly received- but this deal wasn’t about them- They’ve secured their bag- the goal was to secure hers. Sure she could’ve used that information she had as a barometer for what she wanted but she should’ve kept that info in her back pocket.  

  • She should’ve gotten clarity on how Netflix arrived at the offer.  They said the offer was based on what they anticipated she’d bring to their audience right? How did they get to 500K? what was the formula? But more importantly- what outcomes were they truly targeting.? If she exceeded that target she could’ve negotiated additional funds.

  • Once armed with such info,this is the point where she goes in on her brag sheet! In other words- here’s what I’m gonna bring to the table! Let me remind you what I’ve done (yeah they said they didn’t base their offer off of that but the reality is they did, they have no choice but to when factoring in what a person will bring to their audience). She then could’ve tied it into what she’s done RECENTLY- this is key.  People will pay for things that are hot right now, or what they think will be hot.  I’m not going to debate whether or not Mo’Nique is a legend, that’s for another blog post.  My stance is, she is, but she’s not HOT right now. Yes she has her audience and she needed to remind Netflix of that.

Look given that Netflix clearly had preconceived ideas of what she would bring given that she isn’t hot in the market right now she likely wouldn’t have received a 20 million or even a 13 million dollar deal but she’s definitely could've negotiated a deal more than 500K.  This is no different from a cloud engineer with 2 years exp vs a java developer with 10 years of experience going out for the same job.  Cloud engineers are hot right now, and in the right environment they will get paid more. It’s just the reality.

 

Mo’Nique isn’t crazy. She just needs to be more focused on her own outcomes.  It’s all good Mo’Nique, lessons learned. Keep your head up and negotiate deals with hulu or better yet call Jeff and get that Amazon Deal poppin.  I look forward to seeing how this all plays out, but in the meantime let me get my snacks ready cuz its a netflix and chill type of day.

 

Ya’ll boycotting or nah? Weigh in!

 

~ Shak

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