Two months and one series cancellation after being accused of severe abuse and copyright theft by Amber Dixon Brenner, Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil yesterday sought to have the whole matter tossed into the legal dustbin.
“Defendant denies, generally and specifically, each and every allegation contained in Plaintiff’s Complaint, denies that Plaintiff has sustained any injury or loss by reason of any act or omission on the part of Defendant, and denies that Plaintiff is entitled to any relief or damages whatsoever,” says the short and to the specific point January 22 answer to Akil’s ex-lover Brenner’s November 20 filed complaint for domestic violence and breach of implied in fact contract (read it here).
The six-page paperwork to the case in front of L.A. Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr goes on to demand that “Plaintiff’s claims be dismissed with prejudice in their entirety and judgment entered in favor of Defendant.” Akil also is asking the court to make his ex to pay all his legal bills with the not cheap Hollywood heavyweights Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP.
Essentially, invoking the unclean hands doctrine and pushing back on the blame, now former Love Is EP wants the whole undoubtedly scorching matter over because Brenner’s very detailed claims “are barred, in whole or in part, because Plaintiff’s own conduct and other third parties are responsible for any harm Plaintiff may have suffered.”
The next move will be for Brenner to lobby back will a filing of her own – one that will likely see the matter pushed further into the courts and towards either a settlement or trial.
In a now voluntary without prejudice dismissed federal case filed in late October and the LASC case, Brenner has alleged not just a plethora of examples of abuse by the married Akil accused damningly him and spouse Mara Brook Akil of lifting the core of her 2015 screenplay Luv & Perversity in the East Village for their now former OWN series Love Is _
Late last year, soon after the lawsuits become public, Akil’s then attorney Stephen D. Barnes of law firm Barnes, Morris, Klein, & Yorn asserted that Brenner’s claims were “totally untrue.”
On December 19, OWN announced that it had canceled Love Is _, even after renewing the series for a second season in July of last year. In an exclusive interview with Deadline just two days later, Brenner called the cancelation the “correct response from the OWN network.” She added that it was “a correct response to Salim and Mara and it felt like a bit of an acknowledgment of what I had gone through.”
While not removing Akil from Black Lightning, producers WBTV said they’d conduct an immediate inquiry with the cast, crew and creatives of the CW broadcast series to see if they had an issues or complaints to make known. The studio has since said not a single person on the series had any such matters to raise on Akil.
Amber Dixon Brenner is represented by Joe Costa of Pacific Palisades’ CostaLaw