A pastor and a screenwriter are suing Oprah Winfrey, alleging they gave her the idea for the “Greenleaf” megachurch drama series for the Oprah Winfrey Network, but were not compensated.
Pastor Lester Eugene Barrie and Shannan Lynette Wynn filed the breach- of-contract suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 17. The complaint naming Winfrey and OWN seeks unspecified damages and mirrors a lawsuit filed previously in federal court in Los Angeles that was dismissed July 13.
The plaintiffs allege that Winfrey heard a proposal they pitched to her in 2014 for their story, “Justice & Glory,” but that she rejected it and later launched “Greenleaf” in 2016 on her cable television network.
“Defendants used plaintiffs’ ideas and materials in ‘Greenleaf…,”’ the suit alleges. “However, defendants have not compensated plaintiffs for the use of such ideas and materials.”
The suit states that while allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination has brought Hollywood under increasing scrutiny, the “victimization” of hard-working writers also must be addressed.
“Creative theft, in Hollywood, has become a cottage industry,” the suit says.