Oprah Winfrey’s hit drama “Greenleaf” is apparently a rip-off. Screenwriter Shannan Lynette Wynn and Pastor Lester Eugene Barrie claim the “Own” Network CEO stole the entire concept. The partners are suing for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
The show is about a Memphis megachurch and the drama within the first family and fellow church leaders. Wynn and Barrie claimed to have pitched the idea for the show to OWN. The network apparently seemed interested at first and even asked for additional concepts and pitches, but eventually turned down the offer. The partners said they were taken by surprise to see the premiere of the show years later.
In the lawsuit filed in California, Wynn and Barrie spoke briefly about the #MeTooMovement and then connected it to another issue in Hollywood of stealing work. The lawsuit reads, “Hollywood has been the subject of extreme scrutiny due to revelations of what has been an undisclosed, decades-long history of abuse, sexual harassment and discrimination by those in power.” It continued, “On a different front, and just as pervasive, has been the flagrant pilfering of the creative; specifically, the victimization of the hard-working, dedicated writers, authors and creators whose toil and artistic works have been stolen, misattributed and exploited by the unscrupulous and untouchable titans and high-status players of the entertainment industry. Creative theft, in Hollywood, has become a cottage industry.”
According to TMZ, the partners also said they pitched their show to ABC who instantly turned it down. They believe ABC teamed up with Winfrey to steal their idea.
According to The Wrap, Wynn and Barrie are seeking $150,000 for each act of infringement, as well as an injunction barring the defendants from infringing on the plaintiffs’ copyright.