‘Dear White People’ Actor Jeremy Tardy Exits, Accuses Lionsgate of Discrimination

Tardy says he wasn’t allowed to negotiate raise for Netflix show’s Season 4 while a white co-star was

Last Updated: September 11, 2020 @ 7:31 PM

“Dear White People” actor Jeremy Tardy announced his exit from the Netflix series on Friday, accusing producers Lionsgate Television of racial discrimination in contract talks, a claim the studio has denied.

Tardy, a recurring actor on the Netflix series across all three seasons of the show, made the accusations in a series of social media posts, alleging that the studio did not give him the same opportunity to negotiate a raise for the show’s fourth and final season that a white co-star was allowed.

“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,'” Tardy wrote. “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 went on to accuse the studio of undermining his efforts to coordinate a walk-out with other recurring actors with “side deal offers and lack of transparency.”

Lionsgate has denied Tardy’s accusations, saying that the situation was “a purely financial negotiation regarding deal terms.” A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment, referring to Lionsgate’s statement.

“Lionsgate is committed to equal treatment for all talent regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation,” the studio said. “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.”

“Dear White People,” created by Justin Simien and based on his 2014 film of the same name, was picked up for a fourth and final season by Netflix last year. Simien serves as showrunner on the series alongside Yvette Lee Bowser.

Tardy appeared in 11 episodes of the series across the first three seasons as Rashid Bakr. His other credits include HBO’s “Ballers,” Paramount Network’s recently canceled “68 Whiskey” and the ABC limited series “Ten Days in the Valley.”