Michaela Coel Turns Down Netflix Deal and Fires Her Agent Over Copyright Dispute and Back End Deal

The 'I May Destroy You' creator and actress opens up she decided to take her show somewhere else because Netflix refused to give her any of the copyright.

AceShowbiz - Michaela Cole turned down a $1 million deal from Netflix for her breakout show "I May Destroy You" because they wouldn't allow her to retain any of the copyright herself.

The 32-year-old actress, screenwriter, director, and producer is enjoying huge success with the series, which tells the tale of how a sexual assault turns a woman's life upside down. It's currently airing on BBC in the U.K. and HBO stateside, but Michaela told Vulture in a new interview that she originally pitched the series to Netflix.

However, when she asked to retain five per cent of the copyright of the series, which she wrote and starred in herself, Michaela told the outlet "there was just silence on the phone."

Remembering the call with a high-level female executive, Michaela shared, "And she said, 'It's not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it's not a big deal.' I said, 'If it's not a big deal, then I'd really like to have 5 per cent of my rights.' "

Netflix continued negotiating with Michaela, leading to her asking for just 0.5 per cent of the rights. When the woman said she'd have to ask her bosses, she added, "Michaela? I just want you to know I'm really proud of you. You're doing the right thing."

"I remember thinking, I've been going down rabbit holes in my head, like people thinking I'm paranoid, I'm acting sketchy, I'm killing off all my agents," Michaela added Vulture. "And then she said those words to me, and I finally realised - I'm not crazy. This is crazy."

Michaela had also fired her agency CAA after finding out they'd be making "an undisclosed amount on the back end" from the Netflix deal.

In the end, the British star signed a deal with the BBC, which gave her full creative control, the rights to her work and a seat at the table in the production process.

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