Actor Jeremy Tardy (Ballers, War Dogs) of Netflix’s Dear White People, announced in a Facebook post on Friday that he will not return for the upcoming fourth season “due to my experience with Lionsgate and their practices of racial discrimination.” Deadline reports that Lionsgate responded in-kind to Tardy’s claims by stating that the standoff between the two entities was a “purely financial negotiation.”
In the Facebook post, Tardy claims that his disagreement with Lionsgate arose after the company allegedly refused to consider his counter offer, despite the fact that they allegedly offered his “white colleagues” higher salaries for season 4 of the show.
He explains in detail how him and six other recurring cast members were originally trying to negotiate through collective bargaining, but that negotiations fell apart after several members of the group allegedly made side deals with the studio before they were able to reach an agreement. Tardy responded by walking out on the show and called out both Lionsgate and Netflix, for “their shameful practices of discrimination and racial inequality [in] regard to how they have historically undervalued and lowballed people of color.”
Lionsgate has since addressed Tardy’s accusations, providing this statement via Deadline:
“This was a purely financial negotiation regarding deal terms,” the company said. “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.”
Deadline says that the budget for Season 4 of Dear White People was notably increased, with a portion of those funds being reserved for all recurring cast members on the show. As per a negotiating tactic, some members held out on their initial offers, hoping to negotiate in the long-run for more money. Reportedly, all offers were approved by series creator Justin Simien (Bad Hair) prior to when the writing started for the final season.
Dear White People is based on the movie of the same name. It’s centered on a group of students of color who attend a predominantly white Ivy League university. The show uses irony, self-deprecation, brutal honest and humor to highlight the racial tensions that still lie below the surface of today’s “post-racial” society. Tardy played as Kenyan student Rashid Bakr, a brainy student who’s trying to discover what it means to be African while living in America amongst African-Americans.