It came as a shock to many fans when it was revealed that Gabrielle Union was suing BET for breach of contract regarding her hit show “Being Mary Jane” and when the lawsuit initially surfaced, Union decided to stay mum and let her lawyers do the talking for her. But recently, she decided to open up about the lawsuit and explain why she’s taking BET to court.
As previously reported, Union decided to sue BET for $3M last month and accused them of violating her contract by forcing her to work on back to back seasons of “BMJ.” IN the lawsuit, Union claims that she contractually agreed to do no more than 13 episodes per season. Union was also supposed to get a raise if the show got a fifth season.
“By way of example, for Season Four of the Series, the Agreement provides that Plaintiffs are to be paid $150,000 per episode for a minimum of thirteen (13) episodes of the Series, and for Season Five of the Series the Agreement provides that Plaintiffs are to be paid $165,000 per episode for a minimum of thirteen (13) episodes of the Series,” the lawsuit reads.
Well, this year, BET decided to film 10 episodes each for seasons 4 and 5 back to back with no break in between and also no increase in her pay.
“BET now wants to shoot twenty (20) episodes of the series back-to-back and cram all of the episodes into a single season in order to fraudulently extend the term of Ms. Union’s contract, with no additional consideration, and to deprive Ms. Union of her agreed-upon compensation for the next two seasons of Being Mary Jane,” reads the suit.
Shortly after the lawsuit was revealed, SAG-AFTRA decided to side with Union and they sent a grievance letter to Viacom stating that the network violated both the star’s contract and the guild’s contract covering the entire cast. The guild has vowed to take the case to arbitration.
Recently, Union spoke about the lawsuit and explained that although she’s suing BET, she will continue to film the show for the sake of her reputation and for the fans.
“I’m a pro and we all go to work and season 4 will air January 10th on BET and hopefully in the meantime we can sort out some business that’s fair and reasonable and equitable to not just me, but to our whole cast and our writers and our crew,” Union said.
In another interview, she got more in depth about her reasoning for the lawsuit. She explained that she felt that BET and Viacom were trying to take advantage of her because she’s a woman.
“My mortgage. My mortgage alone (laughs). I put in the same hours as most men and if not more. And I deserve to get paid the same. Equal pay, equal work. And that’s how it should be. And if you stand up for nothing, you’ll fall for anything,” Union explained.
BET hasn’t responded to Union’s recent claims but they did respond to SAG-AFTRA for supporting Union’s case.
“We disagree with SAG-AFTRA’s position,” a network spokesperson said in a statement. “The clear contract language and the bargaining history do not support SAG-AFTRA’s theory. We believe SAG-AFTRA and Ms. Union are playing this out in the media as they will not be able to prove in arbitration or court of law.”
What do you think of the lawsuit? Let us know in the comments.