Jeremy Tardy, a recurring actor on the Lionsgate-produced Netflix series “Dear White People,” announced on Twitter that he would not be returning to the show, and alleged that the studio discriminated against him during pay negotiations. Lionsgate has denied the claims, calling it “a purely financial matter.”
“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 tweeted. “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.”
Tardy, who played the character of Rashid Bakr across 11 episodes, said that his team had brought up the issue to Lionsgate, alleging that the studio allowed a white actor to negotiate while remaining firm on its offer to Tardy. He said that he and six recurring cast members then collectively passed on Lionsgate’s initial offers “to stand on principle because this is not simply a monetary matter.”
Tardy went on to say that the group was “undermined with side deal offers and lack of transparency,” and that those tactics led to certain actors “taking deals before the collective group received a fair and equitable negotiation process.”
A Lionsgate spokesperson responded that it “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.”
Netflix referred all inquiries on the matter to Lionsgate. “Dear White People” is slated to return for a fourth and final season at Netflix.
Tardy’s full Twitter thread, outlining the allegations, can be read below.
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.
After being offered to return for several episodes my team was notified that our counter offer would
— Jeremy Tardy (@Jeremy_Tardy) September 11, 2020
More from Variety
Best of Variety
Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.