Salim Akil is speaking out about the allegations levied against him. The Black Lightning show runner and co-creator of Love Is issued a statement to Deadline through his attorney, Stephen D. Barnes of law firm Barnes, Morris, Klein, & Yorn:
“These allegations are deeply upsetting – but they are also totally untrue. 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.”
Amber Dixon Brennan filed a lawsuit against Akil on November 20 that accuses him of repeated “non-consensual assault and battery.” The court documents reveal that Brennan contends she and Akil (who has been married to Mara Brock Akil since 1999) began “a dating relationship, which involved frequent sexual contact” ten years ago and says their relationship did not end until 2017. She claims that Akil demonstrated violent and abusive behavior throughout their union and accuses him of forcing her to perform oral sex among other things.
“In the early summer of 2017, which was the last time defendant Akil and [Brenner] had sexual relations, he backhanded her in the face during sex with a closed hand…These acts were all committed without the consent of [Brenner],” the complaint reads.
“The reasons why [Brenner] did not leave Akil after the very first of these instances occurred are complicated and the subject of significant resulting therapy for [Brenner]. [She] believed she loved Akil.”
The lawsuit also claims breach of contract as Brenner claimed Akil stole the concept for Love Is from a screenplay she wrote years ago. Akil and his wife have asserted that the show is about their own courtship. However, Brennan alleges that Akil took ideas from a screenplay that she wrote called Luv & Perversity in the East Village (LPEV) in 2016, based, in part, off of her tumultuous relationship with Akil.