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Jeremy Tardy Departs Dear White People, Accuses Lionsgate of Racial Discrimination

Dear White People

Jeremy Tardy will not be returning for the fourth and final season of Netflix’s Dear White People. The actor, who played Rashid on the critically acclaimed series, made the announcement via a lengthy Twitter thread, where he accused production company Lionsgate of pay inequity and racial discrimination.

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Tardy tweeted, “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 not be considered and that the initial offer was the ‘best and final’. 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. My team expressed this issue to Lionsgate and the producers maintained their position that the white actor was able to negotiate while I was not- regardless of my credits and experience.”

Tardy continued,

“With this information six recurring cast members, along with myself, banded together on Monday, August 30th to pass on Lionsgate’s initial offers. Our stance was to move powerfully as a unit in the negotiation process and, more importantly, to stand on principle because this is not simply a monetary matter. We were all aware of the notorious pay disparities between people of color and our white colleagues on Netflix and Lionsgate shows; so this made it blatantly obvious. However, our collective bargaining power was undermined with side deal offers and lack of transparency. These tactics led to some individuals taking deals before the collective group received a fair and equitable negotiation process.”

Tardy then called out Lionsgate and other corporations that offer lip service to Black Lives Matter but do little to actually make changes for the Black people they employ. Tardy wrote, These companies have recently released statements and even donations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “I am calling out their shameful practices of discrimination and racial inequality with regard to how they have historically undervalued and lowballed people of color. Politically correct lip service and symbolic gestures do not absolve you of the daily responsibility of doing business in a fair and equitable manner.”

Lionsgate responded with a statement saying the negotiation “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.”

So far, showrunner Justin Simien and Tardy’s co-stars have yet to comment on his allegations.

Dear White People, is based on Justin Simien’s 2014 film of the same name. Both the film and the series focus on race relations at an Ivy League college and the friendships and relationships among Black students. Filming for the fourth season has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Adam Rose/Netflix)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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