Jeremy Tardy will not return to Dear White People for the Netflix series' fourth and final season. Tardy, who has appeared in the show's first three seasons, announced his exit from the series on Friday, citing his experience with Lionsgate, which produces the series, and "their practices of racial discrimination."
In a lengthy post shared to both Twitter and Facebook, Tardy revealed that he had been offered to return for several episodes of the final series, though the studio declined his counteroffer during salary negotiations stating that "the initial offer was the 'best and final.'" One of his White colleagues, whom Tardy called a "true ally," however, "revealed that they too had received the same initial offer and had successfully negotiated a counter offer." Producers "maintained their position" on the matter after his team "expressed this issue" to the studio, Tardy said, explaining that "regardless of my credits and experience," he was not allowed the same opportunity to negotiate as his White colleague. Tardy said that after this, he and six of his co-stars "banded together" in late August to reject the studio's initial offers.
"Our stance was 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," the actor wrote. "We were all aware of the notorious pay disparities between people of color and our white colleagues on Netflix and Lionsgate shows; so this made it blatantly obvious."
Tardy explained that the movement was "undermined with side deal offers and lack of transparency," which led to several members of the group "taking deals before the collective group received a fair and equitable negotiation process." He went on to call out both Netflix and Lionsgate for "their shameful practices of discrimination and racial inequality with regard to how they have historically undervalued and lowballed people of color." He said that "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."
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Lionsgate denied Tardy's claims, stating that the situation was "a purely financial negotiation regarding deal terms." The statement added that the studio "is committed to equal treatment for all talent regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation" and that they are "proud" of the series "and its place in the national conversation about racial equality and social justice and we look forward to beginning production on its 4th season." Netflix, meanwhile, declined to comment, instead referring to Lionsgate’s statement.