Michaela Coel turned down $1million deal from Netflix for ‘I May Destroy You’

Coel was denied retention of the copyright for the show she had written, co-directed and starred in

Michaela Coel has said she denied a $1million offer from Netflix for I May Destroy You.

The actress, who wrote and starred in all 12 episodes of the BBC/HBO drama – as well as co-directing nine – told Vulture that the show was initially offered $1million from Netflix. She explained that she refused the offer when the streaming giant wouldn’t allow her to keep any percentage of the copyright.

She went on to explain how she fired her creative agency CAA after they “tried to push her to take the deal”, and would be “making an undisclosed amount on the back end”.


Coel said she had conversations with “a senior-level development executive at Netflix in order to negotiate “at least 5 percent of the copyright”, and explained: “There was just silence on the phone. 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 percent of my rights.’ ”

Conversations eventually saw Coel ask for just 0.5 percent, to which the executive said, before putting it to her superiors: “Michaela? I just want you to know I’m really proud of you. You’re doing the right thing.”

Coel said: “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. And then she said those words to me, and I finally realised — I’m not crazy. This is crazy.”

In a four-star review of I May Destroy You, NME called the show “a vibrant, entertaining London-set drama with a ferocious intensity.”