'Black Lightning' Showrunner Denies Abuse Allegations

Last week, news broke that Salim Akil, the showrunner of The CW's Black Lightning, is being accused of domestic violence as well as copyright infringement. Now, Akil is denying these allegations.

Akil's attorney Stephen D. Barnes of the law firm Barnes, Morris, Klein, and Yorn called the allegations "deeply upsetting" and "totally untrue" (via Deadline).

"These allegations are deeply upsetting -- but they are also totally untrue," the statement read. "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."

On November 20, actor Amber Dixon Brenner filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing Akil of "non-consensual assault and battery" as well as breach of contract over a screenplay that she claims Akil reappropriated. Brenner, who claims that she and Akil were engaged in a years-long romantic relationship, is also suing Akil, his wife Mara Brock Akil, and Oprah's OWN network in federal court for copyright infringement, claiming that Akil took a 2016 screenplay she had written and used it as the basis for the OWN series Love Is ____. Mara Brock Akil is credited as co-creator on the series, which is produced by Warner Horizon TV.

Akil's denial of these allegations comes just a few days after Warner Bros. Television opened an investigation into Akil. It's important to note that neither the allegations nor WBTV's investigation are related to The CW's Black Lightning and there has been no claims that Akil has behaved inappropriately on the set of the DC Comics superhero series.

Last year, Supergirl and The Flash executive producer Andrew Kreisberg was accused of sexual and professional misconduct by nearly twenty current and former employees, both male and female. At the time the news broke, Berlanti Productions -- which also oversees Black Lightning -- had already launched an investigation into the allegations and placed Kreisberg on leave. He was eventually let go entirely. That no such investigation has been announced this time could suggest that Warner Bros. was caught unaware and are taking their time, or just as easily could mean that they knew this was coming and already investigated it internally and determined it not to be a liability to the company, as was the case with AMC and Chris Hardwick.

As of the time of writing, neither The CW nor OWN have made a statement about the allegations. According to Deadline, defendants in the copyright infringement case have until December 28th to formally respond to the filing.


Black Lightning airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, following episodes of The Flash.