- Dear White People actor Jeremy Tardy, who portrays Kenyan student Rashid Bakr, has exited the Netflix show ahead of Season 4.
- In a Facebook post, Tardy revealed that he'd quit "due to [his] experience with Lionsgate and their practices of racial discrimination."
- The actor signed off his post, "Lionsgate. Netflix. I see you. We see you."
Actor Jeremy Tardy has left Netflix show Dear White People ahead of its fourth and final season. In a Facebook post, Tardy revealed that he'd quit the series when pay negotiations fell through, and "due to [his] experience with Lionsgate and their practices of racial discrimination."
Tardy, who played Kenyan student Rashid Bakr in the first three seasons of Dear White People, alleged in his statement, "After being offered to return for several episodes my team was notified that our counter offer would not be considered... 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."
Following these negotiations, Tardy explained that he "banded together" with a group of fellow cast mates "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." However, the group negotiations also failed, with separate offers being made behind the scenes.
Tardy continued, "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," he explained. "The fact that this has occurred behind the scenes of a show which purports to address systemic issues of racism and discrimination displays the very epitome of hypocrisy."
Tardy signed off his post, "Lionsgate. Netflix. I see you. We see you."
As reported by Deadline, Lionsgate responded to Tardy's accusations and told the publication, "This was a purely financial negotiation regarding deal terms." The statement continued, "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."