Oprah is being dragged into producer/director Salim Akil’s legal battle with his alleged mistress over allegations of domestic violence.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Akil’s alleged mistress, Amber Brenner, is demanding a judge allow her to depose a representative from the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Brenner sued Akil accusing him of domestic violence, along with stealing her screenplay and turning it into his OWN show “Love Is.”
In newly filed court documents, Brenner accuses OWN of refusing to turn over documents in the case. She demanded they hand over communications with Akil, insurance documents and have a representative sit for a deposition.
She wants the court to sanction OWN to the tune of $4,650 for refusing to comply.
OWN believes Brenner has no right to their internal documents, especially since they are not a party to the case. A judge has yet to rule.
Last year, actress/screenwriter Brenner sued Oprah’s OWN network, along with Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the screenwriting and producing couple, over the show, “Love Is.”
The show premiered on OWN in 2018 and was created and produced by Mara and Salim. It is said to be based on their real-life relationship over the years in Hollywood.
Brenner claimed she wrote a screenplay entitled, “Luv & Perversity in the East Village” (“LPEV”), which was a work of fiction that was “about loving a person who is detrimental to her own life and takes the readers on a journey that explores love in the context of such an abusive relationship.”
According to the lawsuit, “LPEV’s” female protagonist is a young, attractive, black entertainment professional who falls in love with a dominant and aggressive male who turns her life upside down.
Brenner says it was based on her relationship with Akil, who was married at the time. Brenner claimed she gave Salim a copy of her work in 2016, which she says he received. She claims Salim emailed her saying he enjoyed it.
She said her work was then used by Salim and Mara who used her idea and turned it into a show they pitched around town. It eventually ended up at OWN Network as “Love Is,” which Brenner claims is a rip-off of her work.
Brenner originally sued OWN, Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, demanding an injunction against them from continuing to profit off her work and unspecified damages. A month after filing that lawsuit, Brenner filed a separate lawsuit but only against Akil, accusing him of domestic violence and breach of contract, with the same allegations in her first suit.
She described alleged abuse at the hands of Akil including being forced to perform oral sex on multiple occasions, photographing a sexual encounter without her permission and hitting her. He has denied all allegations and his lawyer stated, “We will defend Salim to the fullest against the false and offensive claims that a woman with whom he had a past relationship has included in multiple unsubstantiated lawsuits. Salim looks forward to clearing his name and to being able to focus on his work and his family.”
The lawsuit resulted in Warner Bros. Television opening an investigation into Akil, where he currently works on multiple shows. OWN Network canceled the show after the first season following Brenner’s allegations being made public.
Brenner dismissed her original lawsuit against OWN entirely, only continuing on with her lawsuit against Akil.