Black Lightning, while not a ratings giant, is having a pretty consistent sophomore season over on The CW, where it remains outside the interconnected Arrow-verse. Things are looking worse behind the scenes, however, as executive producer and co-creator Salim Akil was recently hit with a lawsuit from alleged ex-girlfriend Amber Dixon Brenner citing physical and sexual abuse, as well as breach of contract. Warner Bros. TV is officially investigating the allegations.
To get to the bottom of these recent claims, Warner Bros. TV is reportedly going to interview the cast and crew members of both The CW's Black Lightning and OWN's Love Is, with Salim Akil also serving as executive producer on the latter drama. According to THR, the purpose of this angle of the investigation is to guarantee the safety and well-being of each show's cast and crew, even though the lawsuit in question doesn't allege any on-set incidents between Akil and others.
Actress and writer Amber Dixon Brenner's lawsuit claims that she and Salim Akil had started their affair around ten years ago, during his still-ongoing marriage with Black Lightning co-developer Mara Brock Akil. Brenner says their relationship, which reportedly ended last year, was marked by numerous occasions where Akil hit her and forced her to perform oral sex. As well, she claims that Akil took photos of a particular sexual encounter, saying she never gave him permission to do so.
Outside of the sexual and physical abuse, Amber Dixon Brenner also accuses Salim Akil of illegally stealing her creative ideas and using them for the OWN series Love Is. Brenner says that in 2016, she pitched a screenplay to Akil called Luv & Perversity in the East Village that was focused on a young, black female in the entertainment industry who falls for a truculent and domineering man who changes her life, for better and worse.
According to Brenner, Akil responded to the script supportively as he was reading it, only to later allegedly use elements from her story for the OWN series Love Is. Brenner has stated that her Luv Is... story was actually based on her own relationship with Akil, while he and wife Mara Brock Akil have stated the series is partly based on their history together.
The Love Is side of this lawsuit is where the breach claims come in, as Amber Dixon Brenner claims Salim Akil broke a breach of implied contract by supposedly using her ideas for his own show. This is actually the second lawsuit to make these claims, too.
In October, Amber Dixon Brenner presented a lawsuit against Salim Akil and the network OWN for copyright infringement. That suit is going directly after the similarities between Brenner's original screenplay and the freshman drama, which wrapped its popular first season in August.
This is the second major legal case to somewhat recently affect one of The CW's DC Comics superhero dramas. In November of 2017, Arrow-verse producer and co-creator Andrew Kreisberg faced accusations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct from over a dozen different men and women. He was first suspended as the investigation went into effect, and Kreisberg was later terminated from all of his positions among the various comic book dramas.
The investigation into allegations against Salim Akil are ongoing, so stay tuned for any further big updates. While waiting, don't forget that Black Lightning airs on The CW on Tuesday nights after The Flash, at 9:00 p.m. ET. And everything else hitting primetime soon can be found in our fall premiere schedule and our midseason TV rundown.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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