Gabrielle Union Sues BET Over ‘Being Mary Jane’ Contract
Gabrielle Union is suing BET over the hit series, Being Mary Jane. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Union filed suit in a Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday (Oct. 11), accusing the cable network of combining two seasons in an attempt to “fraudulently extend” her contract without paying for the work.
The suit states that a BET representative “assured” Union that the network would “never produce more than 13 episodes per season,” which would allow her time to work on other projects.
“BET now wants to shoot 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,” the suit states. “It is outrageous that BET would treat one of its biggest stars in this manner after all she has done to support the network and contribute to its success.”
Furthermore, the 42-year-old actress claims that she wasn’t told about the schedule until a week before principal photography began on the latest season.
Being Mary Jane premiered in 2014 with eight episodes for season one, and 12 episodes in the following season. Union renegotiated her contract in 2015 to include an executive producing credit.
She also wanted a BET executive to be on set during taping. However, in the suit, Union claims that the BET rep who negotiated her first contract chose the on-set executive despite no longer working for the company.
Per the contract, Union reportedly received $15,000 an episode in the opening season, which was bumped to $150,000 per episode in season four, and $165,000 for season five. Filming on season four was delayed until last month, after the series lost a show runner.
The lawsuit follows the news that Michael Ealy will be joining the season four cast.
Union is seeking as much as $3 million in damages from BET and a contract amendment, Deadline reports.