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In a new lawsuit against BET, actress Gabrielle Union accuses the cable network of ordering more episodes than previously agreed on in order to avoid paying her full salary, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
According to the lawsuit, BET ordered 20 episodes for the fourth season of “Being Mary Jane,” starring Union. The suit alleges that BET is trying to combine seasons four and five, so that it can avoid giving Union a contracted raise for the fifth season. She currently makes $150,000 per episode, which is supposed to increase to $165,000 per episode on season five.
The suit also accuses BET of breaking a promise to Union that the network would never go over 13 episodes. Union’s contract currently holds her to a 10-episode minimum and a 26-episode maximum per season due to a corporate policy. But Union’s lawsuit states that BET’s then-general counsel Darrell Walker agreed to no more than 13 episodes per season.
Union – known for “Bring It On,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” and “Bad Boys II” – said she agreed to do “Being Mary Jane” because the shorter seasons allowed her to continue working in movies.
The first season consisted of eight episodes, the second season had 12, and the third had 10. After season two, Union’s contract was changed to include an executive producer credit and a guarantee that Union gets paid for 13 episodes even if BET doesn’t order that many episodes.
Union is suing for at least $1 million in damages and for her contract to be revised to reflect the 13-episode limit per season.
In response to the suit, BET Networks told Business Insider in a statement, “While we hold Gabrielle Union in the highest esteem, we feel strongly that we are contractually well within our rights and are committed to reaching a swift and positive resolution in this matter.”