Trouble’s Brewing In “Being Mary Jane” Land With Gabrielle Union’s Lawsuit Against BET!
There’s some news both good and bad surrounding the BET drama series, “Being Mary Jane.” The good news is Michael Ealy will be joining the show for its fourth season which is set to premiere in January. The bad news is yesterday, the show’s star, Gabrielle Union, filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against BET.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court citing “negligent misrepresentation” and “breach of contract.”
A copy of the lawsuit was obtained by Deadline, and Union claims that in her contract, BET promised to never produce more than 13 episodes per season so she could also focus on film roles. However, according to the lawsuit, the network is now trying to “cram all of the episodes [two 10-episode seasons back-to-back, without a previously agreed upon break between filming] into a single season in order to fraudulently extend the term of Ms. Union’s contract.”
Union says she and the network agreed to those terms, as long as she got a break in filming.
In the filing, Union says she would have never agreed to star in “Being Mary Jane” if BET executives didn’t assure her of the “no more than 13 episodes per season requirement.” Union did not know of BET’s plan to slot 20 episodes for season four until a week before the principal photography began which was last month. Union is seeking $3 million a formal notice saying BET cannot shoot more than 13 episodes for “Being Mary Jane.”
Also in Union’s contract, she is to receive a raise for every additional season the show airs. Union is set to be paid $150, 000 per episode for season four and $165, 000 per episode for season five. The attorney for Union, Martin Singer, says BET is combining the fourth and fifth seasons of the show into one shoot as a way to avoid paying Union’s contractual raise. He says by doing this, the network is fraudulently extending its option to keep Union tied to them for a year.
The lawsuit says, “Although BET represented and assured Ms. Union before she agreed to perform in ‘Being Mary Jane’ that it would never produce more than thirteen (13) episodes per season of the series, 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. 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.”
We told you the show recently got a new showrunner and executive producer in Erica Shelton and executive producer in Will Packer since the departure of the series’ creator Mara Brock Akil and husband, Salim Akil.
Hopefully, both sides resolve these issues quickly!