OWN has canceled “Love Is__,” the relationship drama from husband-and-wife team Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil. The move comes just weeks after Salim Akil was sued by a woman claiming that the producer abused her during an extramarital affair.
Sources tell Variety that Warner Bros. Television, which produces “Love Is ___,” has completed an inquiry triggered by the lawsuit and found no allegations of misconduct on the OWN series or “Black Lightning,” the CW superhero drama that Salim Akil also exec produces. Production on “Black Lightning” has continued uninterrupted, with Akil remaining in place as showrunner.
OWN in July announced that it had renewed “Love Is ___” for a second season. According to sources, pre-production had already begun on the new series. However, the allegations against Salim Akil presented a unique challenge for the future of the season, which had been billed as being based on the real-life romance of Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil. That narrative was viewed as having been compromised.
In November, Amber Dixon Brenner filed a lawsuit against Salim Akil alleging domestic violence and breach of contract. The suit claimed that she and Akil were engaged in a romantic relationship during which he was physically, verbally, and sexually abusive towards her.
In her suit, Dixon Brenner claimed that she and Akil had a nearly 10-year romantic relationship that ended last year. The lawsuit accused Akil of on multiple occasions slapping or otherwise physically assaulting Dixon Brenner and forcing her to perform sex acts with him. The suit also alleged that on one such occasion, Akil urinated in her mouth. In another alleged incident, the suit stated Akil took Dixon Brenner to a parking garage, forced her to lick one of its walls, and photographed her without her knowledge.