‘Dear White People’ Actor Says Lionsgate Won’t Negotiate Offer But Did With White Actor
Some might think this news is ironic. Jeremy Tardy, one of the cast on Netflix’s groundbreaking “Dear White People” – which focuses on modern American race relations – accuses Lionsgate Studio of racial discrimination.
Tardy plays Kenyan student Rashid Bakr who is trying to overcome the challenges of being an African in the United States. Tardy appeared in 11 episodes of the show’s first three seasons, six in season 1, two in Season 2, and three in season 3.
“Dear White People” is a satire based on the acclaimed independent feature debut from series creator Justin Simien. It takes place at a predominantly white Ivy League college where students grapple with racial tensions. It follows a group of students and students of color from Black Winchester University “as they navigate a diverse landscape of social injustice, cultural prejudice, political correctness (or lack thereof) and activism in the millennium, ”Deadline reported.
Tardy shared his case on Twitter.
“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 racial discrimination practices,” Tardy tweeted.
“After being offered to come back for several episodes, my team was informed that our counter-offer would not be considered and that the initial offer was the ‘best and final.’ This news was disturbing as the one of my white colleagues – being a true ally – revealed that they too received the same initial offer and successfully negotiated a counter-offer.
“My team voiced this issue to Lionsgate and the producers maintained their position that the white actor was able to negotiate when I wasn’t, regardless of my credits and experience. With that information, six members recurring members of the cast, as well as myself, got together on Monday August 30. ”
Tardy and six other recurring players collectively forwarded the initial offer with the aim of negotiating better deals as a group, Deadline reported. But the strategy failed when group members struck side deals with the studio “before the collective group received a fair and equitable bargaining process.”
The studio has denied any bias in negotiations with the cast. And, according to Lionsgate, the stalemate that led to Tardy’s exit “a purely financial negotiation,” Deadline reported.
Tardy said Lionsgate offered him to return for several episodes, but declined to consider a counter-offer.
Tardy was ultimately struck off the show.
“These companies have recently released statements and even donations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I speak out against their shameful practices of racial discrimination and inequality in how they have historically undervalued and despised people of color, ”Tardy tweeted.
“Politically correct hype and symbolic gestures do not relieve you of the day-to-day responsibility of doing business fairly and equitably. The fact that this happened behind the scenes of a show that purports to address systemic issues of racism and discrimination shows the very essence of hypocrisy. Lionsgate. Netflix. I see you. We see you. “
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Lionsgate released a statement on Tardy’s accusations.
“This was a purely financial negotiation regarding the terms of the deal,” the company said. “Lionsgate is committed to treating all talent equally, regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation. We are very proud of ‘Dear White People’ and its place in the national conversation on racial equality and social justice and look forward to starting production on its fourth season.
Sources close to the production said the show’s budget for the fourth and final season has been significantly increased, with part of the increase reserved for recurring cast who have all been offered increases. Some of them agreed while others wanted more money. In the end, all the offers would have been approved by Simien.