What Mo’Nique Taught Us About Knowing Your Worth and Burning Bridges
By now we have all heard about the schpiel that Mo’Nique is still currently in with Netflix. In the event you’ve been under every turnable rock, the rundown is this: Netflix approached her about a new comedy special for her and offered her $500K (per her words). Because she was offended by this offer, she, in turn, took to Instagram to blast the platform and ask Netflix fans to boycott the platform altogether because she felt as though she was low-balled and treated unfairly.
As the events of everything went on and social media went up in flames, the topic of women getting paid equal to our male counterparts floated thru every social media platform. Although in her video on Instagram, Mo’Nique mentioned Amy Schumer, who was offered $13M by Netflix as a supplement to her claims of Netflix operating in racist and sexist politics when it comes to paying their artists fairly and appropriately.
Though I don’t think that Mo’Nique is wrong for wanting more than her $500K offer, I have discussed many times over the last several weeks, that her approach to how she is handling this is wrong, outlandish, and instead of getting what she wanted (her ask was $10M), she is instead burning bridges. Once you burn a bridge, it is very difficult to rebuild it.
As an aside, it should be noted that Mo’Nique hasn’t done a lot of work in the last five plus years. Is she a vet in the entertainment and comedy industry? Yes. Does she have a catalogue of work that expands decades? Absolutely. Does she have awards and accolades that put her above her peers? You betcha. But given the fact that she hasn’t worked on anything of note in so long and doesn’t have a huge following as her peers do (Dave Chappelle and Amy Schumer for example), while she absolutely deserves more than the $500K offer, she still needs to build her platform, build her following, and rebuild relationships within the industry that she has destroyed.
It is incredibly important that we be mindful of how we are treating people and how the way we treat others enviably affects the way we are perceived, the money we are worth, and the money we make. While Netflix is undoubtedly in it to make money and with her accolades and achievements, she is worth more than their offer, a better way in my opinion that Mo’Nique could have handled this entire situation was to see their offer and ask for time to think it over, come back with a team and a different number, open for negotiation.
You never have to take the FIRST offer you are given. This goes for anything. When you are being offered a job and the company offers you a number, you are not obligated to take that number if you feel you should receive more. There is nothing wrong with negotiating. Negotiating intelligently though, takes a calm disposition and a willingness to come to an agreement in order for both parties to come out satisfied and eager about the upcoming work relationship. Mo’Nique decided to try and blast and ask users to boycott the platform, do all sorts of interview via radio and (I believe) some television appearances, be quite consistent on social media, including attempting to call out other media professionals on twitter and the list goes on…….instead of using the power of negotiation to try and get what she felt she was deserved.
...the way we treat others enviably affects the way we are perceived... Click To Tweet
As of today, I don’t think she has made any progress with her efforts. It seems as though the bridge with the Netflix platform is burned on her end.
Sometimes the rooms that we think are not for us are actually testing us to see just how much value we place on ourselves. Negotiate. Bring a team. Throw out the numbers and roll up your sleeves and get to work. If no agreement is reached in the negotiation process then, consider the company a bad fit for you and move around. While there is certainly a noticeable imbalance and disproportionate pay scale between men and women (see: Tracee Ellis Ross in Black-ish and her pay scale issues in comparison to co-star Anthony Anderson), making a big stink hardly ever solves any battles. There is a way to peaceably state your displeasure and make yourself be heard without the rigmarole of getting everyone that has nothing to do with the issues involved.
I believe that Mo deserves more than the offer. Her resume, accolades, and decades-long accomplishments are no small feat. But I have been cringing seeing her public displays and unwillingness to be proactive in how she has decided to handle this issue of inequality in pay. While her claims and displeasure is certainly valid, she is being drowned out by her actions and made a joke, which is about as ironic as it can get. At the same time, though, this has sparked a public talk of payment disparities between men and women and that is what I like to see.