EXCLUSIVE: ‘Empire’ Director Lee Daniels And Debbie Allen – Screenwriter Files $20 Million Lawsuit Accusing Them of Show Theft
Director Lee Daniels and actress Debbie Allen have been hit with a $10 million lawsuit – accusing them of conspiring together to steal an unknown writers show idea — and now the man is demanding millions for the alleged show theft.
A writer named Robert Panton has filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against Lee Daniels accusing him of stealing his show idea for “Empire”. Panton wrote a screenplay entitled “Can You Cross Over” back in 1994. The story focused on a black male drug dealer and a black gangster girl making money from drugs and investing into a music studio and record label.
He submitted the screenplay to the ‘Black Screenwriters Competition’ back in 1997. Around this time he became incarcerated in federal prison. While in prison he met an inmate who was friends with Debbie Allen. He sent the inmate a copy of his script for her to read.
Debbie has directed an episode of ‘Empire’ and he believes she passed off his script to Daniels … and they stole his show and never paid him a dime. The inmate told Panton that Allen received his script but never heard back. He is suing for copyright infringement and demanding $10 million in damages from both Daniels and Allen.