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Alberto E. Rodriguez

Salim Akil Abuse Accuser Amber Dixon Brenner, Pleased OWN Canceled 'Love Is__'

"This is correct response from the OWN network."

With her legal counsel present, Amber Dixon Brenner spoke with Deadline about her accusations and lawsuit filed against executive producer, screenwriter, and showrunner Salim Akil.

"I got to a point where I could no longer live with myself and be the mother I wanted to be, be the Amber I always dreamed of being if I tolerated the history of the abuse,” Brenner said.

In late November, the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps actress alleged she was in a physically and sexually abusive relationship with Akil for the last 10 years. In response, a lawyer for Akil called the allegations "totally untrue.” Yet, on Dec. 19 OWN canceled the show shortly after it was renewed for its second season.

Among the many harrowing accusations Brenner leveled against Akil, she alleges the premise for Love Is was taken from her 2015 screenplay Luv & Perversity in the East Village.

Deadline inquired as to why she waited almost a month in between filing her federal lawsuit and her copyright infringement claims. She said she wanted to give Salim and Mara time to acknowledge her accusations.

"If you love someone you keep trying to give them chance after chance and then you realize you don’t love me. You’re not sorry. You’re not coming to me in a private manner or to my lawyer wanting to apologize. I wanted an apology and I wanted it acknowledged that he was abusive."

Brenner also accused the Black Lightning showrunner of believing he was above reproach. "When I realized, 'Oh, you don’t really don’t care.' You know what, this is my turn to hold you accountable because Salim thought he was above accountability, as did Mara. So that is when I pulled the trigger on the state because it was also not just for the abuse. It was for theft of idea, which plays into copyright, absolutely."

The screenwriter also made it clear Mara was aware of Salim's affair, but said another reason she came forward is because of what she perceived to be Mara's hypocrisy.

"It started when Mara was on the cover of some magazine and she stood along with other women in the industry talking about #MeToo or Time’s Up. I read it and I was appalled and I felt disregarded and that the issues from the relationship that in the past I had tried to resolve or discuss regarding violence she was very silent about. Like not responding to texts earlier on in the relationship. "

When finally asked how she felt when OWN canceled the show, Brenner called the move "the right thing."

"I did feel a sense of this is the right thing, this is correct response from the OWN network. This is a correct response to Salim and Mara and it felt like a bit of an acknowledgment of what I had gone through."

READ MORE: OWN Cancels Love Is__Amid Salim Akil Abuse Allegations

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Halle Berry Is #TeamZoeKravitz As Catwoman For Upcoming 'Batman' Film

Earlier this month, it was announced that actress/musician Zoe Kravitz would step into the sleuthing role of Catwoman for Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Joining in on the chorus of people that are elated to see Kravitz in this role is fellow Catwoman Halle Berry.

The Oscar Award-winning actress took to Twitter to congratulate Kravitz on her new job, writing “Keep shining queen and welcome to the family!” Kravitz will star opposite Twilight’s Robert Pattinson who’ll play the Dark Knight.

Special shout-out to your new #CatWoman, the eternally graceful & extremely bad ass @ZoeKravitz. Keep shining Queen & welcome to the family! ♥️✨ pic.twitter.com/9YJ2EekcNG

— Halle Berry (@halleberry) October 17, 2019

In 2004, Berry starred as Catwoman in the film of the same name. Directed by Pitof, the movie also starred Alex Borstein, Benjamin Bratt, Frances Conroy, and Sharon Stone. Although the movie wasn't a box office success, Berry said it opened up a world of opportunities in Hollywood.

"Everybody around me said, 'Girl, don't do it. It's going to be the death of you. It's going to end your career.' But guess what I did? I followed my intuition and I did a movie called Catwoman and it bombed miserably," Berry said at 2004's Matrix Awards, per Glamour. "While it failed to most people, it wasn't a failure for me because I met so many interesting people that I wouldn't have met otherwise, I learned two forms of martial arts and I learned not what to do."

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Bob Levey

A Tekashi 6ix9ine Documentary Series Is In The Works

Showtime is set to debut a new project about Tekashi 6ix9ine.  Supervillain, a three-part limited docuseries produced by Imagine Documentaries, Rolling Stone  and Lightbox, will explore the rise of the New York native.

“The bizarre and complicated rise of Tekashi 6six9ine is a story of our times,” said Vinnie Malhotra, EVP, Nonfiction Programming, Showtime Networks. “Beyond becoming one of the most notorious hip hop artists of this generation, his story speaks volumes of the impact of social media and manufactured celebrity in our society. We’re excited to be partnering with such heavy hitters in the world of music and documentary to bring Supervillain to life.”

The series is inspired by the Rolling Stone article, Tekashi 6ix9ine: The Rise and Fall of a Hip Hop Supervillain, released earlier in the year.

“Tekashi 6ix9ine is one of the most enigmatic music artists of a generation,” said Gus Wenner, President and COO of Rolling Stone. “Rolling Stone is thrilled to work with Showtime and our other partners to bring the gripping story of Tekashi’s meteoric rise to stardom and infamy to viewers around the world.”

Supervillain isn't the only Tekashi-inspired project on the way. Snapchat is working on a doc about the 23-year-old recording artist, and 50 Cent is reportedly producing a biopic about him.

Tekashi, whose birth name is Daniel Hernandez, testified against former gang affiliates in federal court last month in exchange for a lowered prison sentence.  Though it’s unclear when he will be freed, the “FeFe” rapper -- who was facing up to life in prison -- recently signed a record deal worth a reported $10 million.

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Daniel Kaluuya attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
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Daniel Kaluuya To Produce Live-Action ‘Barney’ Movie

Daniel Kaluuya is taking a step away from in front of the cameras to stand on the other side of the lens. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Get Out star’s 59% company will produce a live-action film on the beloved children's television character Barney. The movie will be produced alongside Mattel Films.

“Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood," Kaluuya said via statement. "We’re excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.”

Given this new take on the jolly purple dinosaur, Mattel Films’ executive Robbie Brenner believes audiences will appreciate a new approach to telling Barney’s story and “subvert expectations.” Brenner continued to state the film will not only resonate and entertain this generation’s youth but “the project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults.”

In 1992, Barney & Friends premiered on PBS, launching a decades-long run (1992-2009) of kid-friendly programming. Sheryl Leach first came up with the concept of Barney when she desired programming crucial to the social development of her son. Along with a team that helped to shape the premise of the show and its characters (B.J., Baby Bop), Leach’s creation made its way to PBS’ developers and the rest is history. The show also produced resounding melodies like "I Love You" written by Lee Bernstein. The song was a staple to the end of most episodes and promoted the show's message of compassion, consideration, and optimism.

Kaluuya is gearing up for the release of Queen & Slim directed by Melina Matsoukas and co-starring Jodie Turner-Smith.

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