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CW Backs Salim Akil, Renews ‘Black Lightning’ Despite Lawsuit Against Showrunner Alleging Sexual Assault

The serious allegations surrounding writer and show creator Salim Akil might’ve gotten his drama “Love Is” canceled on the OWN Network, but The CW has renewed his series “Black Lightning” for a third season.

Last year, Akil — who’s “Black Lightning’s” showrunner — was accused by Amber Dixon Brenner of sexual and physical abuse, as well as stealing her idea for “Love Is” during their reported 10-year personal relationship. Brenner has been married to show creator and screenwriter Mara Brock Akil for 19 years, and she’s stuck by his side since the allegations surfaced.

"Black Lightning" has been renewed for a third season despite the sexual abuse and plagiarism accusations surrounding show runner Salim Akil.


On Nov. 20, Brenner filed a lawsuit with the Los Angeles Superior Court under the accusations of “non consensual assault and battery and breach of contract,” which is still open.

Akil released a statement and denied the allegations in early December and said he looked forward to “clearing his name and to being able to focus on his work and his family.”

Warner Bros. Television, “Black Lightning’s” producer, also conducted an investigation when the accusations surfaced, and according to Deadline not a “single person” on the show said they were mistreated by Akil or had a problem with him.

It’s something president of The CW Mark Pedowitz talked about on Thursday, Jan. 31, at the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour.

“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,” said Pedowitz. “He had a personal issue that has 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.”

Pedowitz also addressed the allegation that Akil stole Brenner’s idea for “Love Is.”

“I can’t say if he did or he didn’t, that’s for the courts to decide. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

“Black Lighting” has certainly done well for The CW in the area of ratings since it was the network’s most watched premiere in two years when it aired on Jan. 16 2018. According to SYFY Wire, the premiere episode brought in 2.31 million viewers.

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