Dear White People, it looks like one cast member won’t be returning for the fourth and final season.
Actor Jeremy Tardy, who plays Kenyan student Rashid Bakr on the Netflix series, cites “discrimination and racial inequality” for his exit.
Tardy took to social media on Friday, September 11 to officially announce his departure from Dear White People, a Netflix series that is produced by Lionsgate.
In a series of tweets, Tardy explained to his fans that “racial discrimination” on Lionsgate’s part is the reason for his departure.
“Unfortunately I will not be joining NETFLIX’s Dear White People for its fourth and final season due to my experience with Lionsgate and their practices of racial discrimination,” the actor wrote in the first of several tweets.
“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,'” he continued.
Of course, the studio not considering Tardy’s counter offer isn’t the real issue. Tardy learned that one of his white co-stars was given the same initial offer. But that actor was able to successfully negotiate a counter offer.
“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 tweeted.
Lionsgate “maintained” that the white actor was able to negotiate the offer. At the same time, Tardy was not, regardless of his “credits and experience.”
As a result, a group of several recurring cast members banded together back in August. Together, they rejected their offers from Lionsgate.
“Our stance was to move powerfully as a unit in the negotiation process,” he revealed in his tweets. They were intending to stand on principle “because this is not simply a monetary matter.”
He pointed out that they were already aware of “notorious pay disparities” occurring between people of color and their white colleagues across Netflix and Lionsgate shows.
Unfortunately, this incident just happened to make it “blatantly obvious.”
According to Tardy, though, Lionsgate managed to undermine their movement with “side deal offers and lack of transparency.”
In other words, some members of the group snagged deals before everyone else received their “fair and equitable negotiation.”
Of course, big names like Lionsgate and Netflix have released statements and made donations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement — while also continuing inequality in their own productions.
Tardy called them out for “politically correct lip service and symbolic gestures.”
He pointed out that they don’t absolve them of “doing business in a fair and equitable manner.”
To add insult to injury, Dear White People is a show meant to address systemic issues of racism and discrimination. The show centers around a group of Black students navigating a predominantly white Ivy League college.
The hypocrisy isn’t lost on Tardy.
“Lionsgate. Netflix. I see you. We see you,” he concluded.