Here’s a Philly Man’s Lawsuit Against Empire Creator Lee Daniels

A Philly man is suing Lee Daniels, the creator of the Fox show Empire, saying Daniels took the idea for the show from him.

Clayton Prince Tanksley says he pitched a show called Cream to Daniels at a 2008 event organized by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. He says he gave Daniels a script and a DVD of three 30-minute episodes of the proposed show.

Tanksley says that Empire is “substantially similar” to Cream — with elements such as mood, characters, plots, scenes, and story lines that are “virtually identical” to the materials he gave Daniels at the pitch meeting.

It’s worth taking a look at the lawsuit, below, because it features side-by-side comparisons of Tanksley’s project and Empire. One example:

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Other defendants include producer Danny Strong, Fox TV, as well as Sharon Pinkenson and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. The lawsuit, filed Friday, seeks an unspecified amount of damages, plus interest.

Sean Penn Sues Lee Daniels for Comparing Him to Terrence Howard

Actor Sean Penn has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Philly-born Empire director Lee Daniels. The complaint, which was filed today in the New York Supreme Court, states that, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Daniels suggested that Penn hit women by comparing him to Empire star and Lafayette Hill-based actor Terrence Howard. As we reported last fall, Howard has “been accused of assaulting, hitting, attacking or grabbing women six different times, including an incident with a total stranger in a Montgomery County diner. Only two of the alleged incidents led to criminal charges, and Howard was found guilty of ‘disorderly conduct’ both times.”

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Woman Sues Lee Daniels for Using Her Life Story to Create Empire

Lee Daniels and his fellow creators of Empire are facing a $300 million lawsuit filed by a woman named Sophia Eggleston, who claims her life story was used to create the hit Fox show.

Eggleston, a native of Detroit claims to be the real-life version of Empire diva Cookie Lyon (played by Taraji P. Henson). Eggleston says the show is based off her own memoir, which she wrote several years ago. The memoir, entitled The Hidden Hand, outlines her “early drug lifestyle.” According to the suit, Eggleston traveled to Los Angeles back in 2011 and gave screenwriter Rita Miller a copy of her book. Several months later, Miller called up Eggleston to inform her of plans to pitch the memoir to Lee Daniels.

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Arts and Business Council Honors Lee Daniels


The Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia hosted its annual awards celebration last night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 10 awards were given out to notable individuals and business who have made a difference in arts and business in Philadelphia.

The honors included The PNC Arts Alive Award for Innovation in honor of Peggy Amsterdam which was given to InLiquid, Business & Arts Partnership Award: Large Business with an Arts & Cultural Organization, which acknowledged “Art at the Airport” for its expansive art exhibitions. Individual honorees included Andrea Wikerd of Ernst & Young (Business on Board Volunteer Leader of the Year), David Othmer, retired station manager at WHYY (Business Volunteer for the Arts Volunteer of the Year), James Holman, partner, Duane Morris LLP (Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Volunteers of the Year), and director Lee Daniels, who was recognized with the Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence.

After the awards ceremony was a cocktail party with a Stephen Starr buffet and entertainment by the West Philadelphia Orchestra.

PHOTOS: Arts and Business Council Honors Lee Daniels »