Mo’Nique Sues Paramount and CBS Over Unpaid ‘The Parkers’ Royalties

Fresh off the premiere of her Netflix standup special—as well as a highly publicized lawsuit against the streamer—Mo’Nique is suing yet another major media company for allegedly withholding pay.

On Wednesday, the Oscar-winning actress filed a lawsuit against Paramount and CBS for unpaid royalties over her former television show The Parkers, according to the Associated Press.

The breach-of-contract lawsuit claims that the corporations purposely inhibited the show’s profitability to “retain millions that would otherwise be contractually due” to her and her husband Sidney Hicks’ production company, Hicks Media. The lawsuit also alleges that the show’s writers and creators were underpaid.

“While the Series has proven to be a major financial success for its producers and distributors, the series’ talent have not been permitted to share in the fruits of that success,” the lawsuit reads.

The suit also states, “Given the success of [The Parkers], which ceased production after 110 episodes (placing it above the lucrative 100-episode threshold traditionally necessary for a television show to be syndicated), as well as the contractual limitations placed on how the series’ AGR must be calculated, Plaintiff reasonably expected to enjoy significant contingent compensation from the Series’ revenues. That expectation has not proven to be the reality.”

The Parkers, about a mother and daughter who attend the same Los Angeles college, ran for five seasons on the now-defunct network UPN from 1999 to 2004. Since its cancellation, the sitcom has been syndicated on several networks. Most recently, the series was brought to Netflix in 2020 with other UPN shows.

According to the suit, Mo’Nique discovered the alleged breach of contract after she filed another recent suit, presumably the one against Netflix. In 2018, the Precious star filed a discrimination lawsuit against Netflix for engaging in “bad faith negotiations” after the streamer offered her $500,000 for a comedy special. In addition to the suit, she called on the public to boycott Netflix.

The parties eventually reached an out-of-court settlement in 2022. And on April 4, the comedian released a standup special on the platform called My Name is Mo’Nique.

David DeRubertis, an attorney who also represented Mo’Nique in the Netflix suit, said about this latest lawsuit, “Mo’Nique is not shy about taking on these David vs. Goliath battles in Hollywood to challenge these questionable practices that are endemic to the industry.”

In a statement, the comedian added, “I just want the contractual compensation that I’ve earned.”

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