(EXCLUSIVE) Lee Daniels Headed to Court Over $500 Million ‘Empire’ Lawsuit

Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels

theJasmineBRAND.com exclusively reports, Lee Daniels has headed to court in the $500 million dollar lawsuit accusing him of stealing an author’s show pitch to create his mega hit ‘Empire”, blasting the allegations by explaining he has never even heard of the man … and is demanding the entire suit be thrown out.

Last August, a man named Jon Astor-White filed a $500 million dollar federal lawsuit against Daniels, co-EP Danny Strong and 21st Century Fox, accusing them of ripping off his show idea to create ‘Empire’.

Taraji P. Henson, Daniels

Taraji P. Henson, Daniels

Astor-White explained that he shopped around a show entitled, “King Soloman’ back in 2007. The show featured Shaft star Richard Roundtree as a record label executive and focused on his family’s battle over the company. He even laid out who he wanted to star in the series including Kanye West, Alicia Keys and John Goodman.

He described the show as a mix between Dynasty, The Godfather and The Sopranos.

The writer faxed the show treatment around town but never received a response for his pitch. He said once Empire premiered on FOX, he immediately realized Daniels and FOX had stolen his story and claimed it as their own. He filed suit demanding 500 mill in damages for the story theft.

On January 18th, Lee Daniels fired back, explaining that there are no substantial similarities between Empire and the man’s show pitch.

Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels

Daniels informs the court that the two works are vastly different in everything from plot, theme, characters, dialogue, sequence of events and even the setting. Astor-White’s story takes place in Hollywood while Empire is set in New York.

Further, he says that the man has failed to show any evidence of how Empire producers would have come into contact with the show pitch, especially since the man admitted he only sent it to 3 different people back in the day.

empire-fox upfront 2015-the jasmine brand

He also adds that if there are any similarities, they are not copyright-able due to them being so common. Daniels points out that the man’s pitch he sent around is so generic and broad that it only describes one scene that contains no dialogue, includes only a handful of thinly described characters and none of them are similar to those on Empire.

Daniels is demanding the entire 500 million dollar suit be thrown out immediately and the man awarded nothing from his complaint.

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Authored by: Kellie Williams