CW Renews ‘Black Lightning’ despite sexual assault lawsuit against Salim Akil

The network says that the show's production will continue despite the serious allegations against its showrunner

Salim Akil
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The CW has renewed hit series Black Lightning for a third season despite the sexual assault allegations surrounding writer and creator Salim Akil.

Last year, Warner Bros Television, which produces the show, launched an internal investigation against Akil after actress Amber Dixon Brenner accused him of both sexual and physical abuse during their alleged 10-year affair.

READ MORE: Salim Akil denies assault claims, says allegations are ‘totally untrue’

READ MORE: ‘Black Lightning’ showrunner, Salim Akil sued for domestic violence and breach of contract

According to Deadline, investigators determined that not a “single person” on the series had issues or complaints against Akil. And Thursday, Mark Pedowitz, president of the CW, said he believed Akil’s issue was “personal,” and would have no impact on production moving forward.

“When litigation came to us, Warner [Bros] did the appropriate thing and did an investigation on the set… and there is no world where that is not a safe place, there were no wrongdoings found,” he said during his executive session at TCA. “He had a personal issue that is nothing to do with the show. The show, as far as we’re concerned, is that Salim, the other producers, the cast and the crew, they deserve to work.”

Last November when Dixon Brenner filed her complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, in addition to accusing Akil of repeated “non-consensual assault and battery,” she also alleged a breach of contract regarding a screenplay she claims Akil appropriated and turned into Love Is_.

In response to the controversy, in December, OWN cancelled the series which was marketed as a dramatization of Akil’s relationship with screenwriter Mara Brock Akil who he has been married to for 19 years.

“These allegations are deeply upsetting — but they are also totally untrue,” read a statement from Akil’s lawyer, Stephen D. Barnes. “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.”

READ MORE: Atlanta police investigate Facebook Live of alleged sexual assault that went viral