EXCLUSIVE: Lena Waithe Accused Of Stealing Concept For Upcoming Show, Screenwriter Nina Lee Speaks Out – I Found Out On Twitter, I Never Said She Stole From Me
theJasmineBRAND exclusively reports, new details surrounding allegations that Lena Waithe allegedly stole a concept for an upcoming show have surfaced. Imagine scrolling through social media and stumbling across a popular industry figure promoting an idea that once belonged to you. That was allegedly the case this week with screenwriter, Nina Lee. As announced by the platform, Attn., “The Chi” creator, Lena Waithe, created a series called, “Girls Room,” in conjunction with Dove’s latest self-image initiative. The show follows a group of high school friends who congregate in the women’s bathroom, and conquer life as they know it. Nina Lee hilariously commented on the trailer:
“this looks awful, yes I’m hating.”
? this looks awful, yes I’m hating. https://t.co/doJXrMzGrJ
— Nina Lee (@NinaSerafina) February 23, 2020
Some fans pointed out the similarities in Lena’s latest project, and Nina’s 2017 show, “The Girls Room.” This was how she was alerted about her concept taking on a new life. Nina Lee EXCLUSIVELY told theJasmineBRAND:
“I honestly just saw it on Twitter. Somebody sent it to me, and they were like, ‘Are you a part of this?’ And I was just like, ‘Oh, no.’ And I really didn’t think much about it. I re-posted it and was like, ‘Oh, this sucks.’ And then I posted mine, but I never did think people were gonna say that she stole it from me. I was really just posting it saying, like, how much it sucks that nothing happened from my project.”
Ironically, like Lena Waithe’s Dove collaboration, “The Girls Room” surrounded four women who met in the bathroom at a bar and eventually became roommates and friends who conquered dating, college, and the financial struggle of their 20’s. Nina Lee says that the show was making headway online before being shelved:
“It was so huge and it never came out. Literally nothing happened from the show. We had a whole bunch of people hyping us up, like MTV called us. And nothing happened. People knew about it, and we had some very major things happening…but nothing happened for us.”
The Spelman College grad says that she’s never met Lena Waithe, nor spoken to any of her colleagues:
“I’ve written about her for [a publication], but that’s it…I don’t even know if they see what’s going on. I’m sure someone’s mentioned it, but, no. No one’s reached out to me. I’m sure they’re going to make it seem like a coincidental kind of thing. [But] people are blowing up my Instagram like, ‘This looks like so much more than a coincidence.’ They’re like, ‘It’s deeper than just the name.’…I just don’t want them to try to put me down as an artist. Literally, in none of my tweets did I ever say, ‘Lena Waithe stole from me.’ So I don’t want them to say that I’m trying to slander her name or anything like that.”
Fans and followers of Nina’s former show pointed out that Lena’s interpretation is so similar that even the lighting is mimicked in the trailer.
“I got a group of girls together…when we casted, we decided we wanted to do everything monochromatic, so each girl would have a color- and she would wear that color in every episode. Each girl, she’s telling her story, the lighting would be a reflection of that story…I know at some point someone had to have said, ‘Oh, we’ve seen this before.’ And it’s still out there! People were pulling up our Instagram page like, ‘I followed this three years ago!’ “
Even the way her show is colored is oddly similar, I have to laugh. Ours was fun as hell though cuz it was about the great drunk girls you meet the girls restroom. And it extended out to their lives and how tough and rewarding navigating through life in your 20s can be. pic.twitter.com/jW6WmTTjqf
— Nina Lee (@NinaSerafina) February 23, 2020
Nina also commented on the mistakes she feels she made leading up to seeing her concept being used:
“I didn’t realize what I had. I was just so eager to get something out that I didn’t read…I just didn’t know! I took so many screenwriting and film-making classes in college and no one was ever like, ‘Don’t sign anything without a lawyer present.’…you just really trust people.”
But, Nina Lee is moving past this incident, and focusing on her upcoming projects:
“I don’t care about ‘The Girls Room!’ I was just love for someone to contact me! I have feature films, I have another show that I think is even better than that, I have a short film that I’m funding- so I would just love to get some of this content made. I’ve been a struggling writer for a very long time…My latest project is a cartoon coming to Adult Swim in the springtime. It’s called “Spooky Dreams,” and I voice…those characters. I have a short film that I’m trying to get funded. It’s a drama called, “Artistic.”…If you’re rich as hell, just help other people!”
Lena Waithe’s “Girls Room” premieres online on Wednesday, February 26th.
Update – We received the following statement from Dove’s publicist:
Dove started working on Girls Room with our partners in early 2017, and we’re proud to have teamed up with ATTN: and Lena Waithe to bring the vision to life. The name of the series was developed before Lena or ATTN: were added to the project and was selected because our scenes mainly take place in the “Girls Room,” any similarity to other creative projects is entirely unintentional.
Written by Miata Shanay