LOS ANGELES – Mo’Nique sued Paramount and CBS on Wednesday, seeking what the Oscar-winning actor and comedian says are unpaid royalties from her sitcom “The Parkers.”
The breach-of-contract lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and obtained by The Associated Press alleges the defendants artificially depressed the show’s profitability to “retain millions that would otherwise be contractually due” to Mo’Nique’s production company.
“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 suit says.
The suit was filed by Hicks Media, the production company Mo’Nique owns with her husband and business partner, Sidney Hicks. It names as defendants CBS Studios, Paramount Pictures and the show’s production company Big Ticket Productions. It seeks monetary damages to be determined at trial.
Emails seeking comment were sent to representatives of the defendants.
The suit says the series’ creators and writers have been similarly underpaid, and that Mo’Nique learned of the alleged breach of contract when they recently filed a similar lawsuit.
“I just want the contractual compensation that I’ve earned,” Mo’Nique said in a statement.
“The Parkers,” a spinoff of the sitcom “Moesha,” ran for five seasons and 110 episodes on the now-defunct network UPN, a forerunner of The CW, from 1999 to 2004. Mo’Nique starred as Nikki Parker, a mother who returns to the same college her daughter is attending.
The show has been rerun in syndication in various forms since, and has been available for streaming on Netflix since 2020.
In a previous lawsuit, Mo’Nique sued Netflix for race and sex discrimination in its offer for a proposed comedy special, accusing the streaming service of giving her a lowball offer that was part of a larger company tendency to underpay black women. The suit was settled last year.
“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,” David deRubertis, one of her attorneys in both lawsuits, said in a statement.
The 55-year-old actor, whose legal name is Monique Angela Hicks, first gained fame as a stand-up comic and was among the “Queens of Comedy” featured in the 2000 film of the same name. She won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her performance in the 2009 movie “Precious.”
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.