UPDATED: Warner Bros. TV has opened an investigation into the abuse claims recently leveled in a lawsuit against producer Salim Akil, Variety has confirmed.
A woman named Amber Dixon Brenner filed a lawsuit this week against Akil — who is married to fellow producer Mara Brock Akil — alleging domestic violence and breach of contract. She claims that she and Akil were engaged in a romantic relationship during which he was physically, verbally, and sexually abusive towards her.
On Sunday, Akil’s attorney Stephen D. Barnes released a statement denying Brenner’s accusations.
“These allegations are deeply upsetting – but they are also totally untrue,” the statement reads. “We will defend Salim to the fullest against the false and offensive claims that a woman with whom he had a past relationship has included in multiple unsubstantiated lawsuits. Salim looks forward to clearing his name and to being able to focus on his work and his family.”
The current claims against Akil are not related to his work as an executive producer on the WBTV shows “Black Lightning” or “Love Is__,” but it is now standard practice for the studio to conduct an inquiry when any such misconduct allegations are made.
Warner Bros. declined to comment.
In her suit, Dixon Brenner alleges that she and Akil began a relationship approximately 10 years ago, with the relationship only ending last year. The lawsuit states that during that time Akil, on multiple occasions, slapped or otherwise physically assaulted her and forced her to perform sex acts with him. It also states that on one such occasion, he urinated in her mouth. In another alleged incident, the suit states Akil took Dixon Brenner to a parking garage and forced her to lick one of its walls while also photographing her without her knowledge.
As for the breach of contract charge, she claims that she pitched Akil a screenplay entitled “Luv & Perversity in the East Village,” which is said to be based on their “physically and sexually abusive relationship.” The suit goes on to claim that Akil took ideas from the screenplay and eventually used them in both an ABC project called “Documenting Love” as well what would become “Love Is__,” which currently airs on OWN and which he exec produces with Brock Akil.
The suit states that the reasons Dixon Brenner did not leave Akil are “complicated” and “the subject of significant resulting therapy.”
“[Dixon Brenner] believed that she loved Akil,” the lawsuit says. “She also looked up to him as a prominent motion picture television director in some of the same entertainment circles where [she] socialized. Akil likewise would at times dangle potential acting roles and professional collaborations before [her].”