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ABC and Quinta Brunson Sued Over Alleged “Abbott Elementary” Copyright Infringement

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Brunson’s hit sitcom was recently nominated for seven Emmy awards.


“Abbott Elementary” Sued

Quinta Brunson, the creator and star of “Abbott Elementary,” is facing a copyright lawsuit over allegations that she and ABC stole the hit sitcom from another writer’s script. 

According to The Wrap, writer and actress Christine Davis hit Brunson and the network with the suit last week. Davis claims the premise of the Emmy-nominated comedy was taken from a show she wrote called “This School Year.”

The Wrap, which obtained a copy of the suit, reported Davis claims both shows are “striking and substantially similar,” including the way they capture an inner-city school in mockumentary style, as well as in the “unique plot synopsis, set design, and unique characters.”

The suit pointed to a handful of characters in “Abbott Elementary” it claims are “nearly identical” to ones in “This School Year, including a young main teacher and older main characters. It also alleged that both opening episodes involved a principal taking a main character’s rug. 

“Abbott Elementary” follows a group of teachers at a public school in Philadelphia. Led by Brunson’s overly eager Janine Teagues, the educators work tirelessly to help their students despite their lack of funding and resources. 

Davis reportedly wrote her script in 2018 and registered it with the copyright office in 2020. “Abbott Elementary” hit screens in the winter of 2021. 

Davis claims she contacted two producers at Blue Parks Productions in the summer of 2020 and took several meetings regarding the show. During this time, she learned that Hulu and ABC were interested in Black, female-led comedies. 

According to the A.V. Club, neither of the producers named in the suit appear to have anything to do with “Abbott Elementary.”

The Success of “Abbott Elementary”

Davis is seeking a jury trial and for Brunson and ABC to “turn over all the profits they made from the show.”

Neither Brunson nor ABC has responded to the lawsuit. 

Deadline first reported that Brunson landed a pilot commitment at ABC for a “teacher comedy” in September 2020. The report did not say when the initial writing or development of the show started. 

Since its debut, “Abbott Elementary” has been hailed as a heartwarming success by critics and audiences alike. It delivered historic ratings for ABC and was nominated for seven Emmy Awards last week, including outstanding comedy series. 

In addition to that nod, Brunson picked up two other nominations for best actress in a comedy series and outstanding writing for comedy. With those three slots, she became the first Black woman to get three nominations for the same comedy show in a single year. 

See what others are saying: (The Wrap) (A.V. Club) (Entertainment Tonight)

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Kathy Hilton Faces Backlash For Mistaking Lizzo as “Precious”

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Many found the mix-up to be both fatphobic and racist.


Hilton’s Blunder

“Real Housewives” star Kathy Hilton is facing heat online for confusing Grammy Award-winning popstar Lizzo with Gabourey Sidibe’s titular character in the 2009 film “Precious.”

Hilton made an appearance on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” on Wednesday night alongside her “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” co-star Crystal Kung Minkoff. During the show, they played a game where Hilton, who has become famous on the show for mixing people up, had to identify celebrities based on a photo of them. 

Hilton struck out on several stars, including Ryan Reynolds. Viewers were shocked, however, when they witnessed her incorrectly guess who Lizzo is. 

“I feel like I do [know her],” the reality star said while looking at a photo of the “About Damn Time” singer. “Precious?”

Cohen, Minkoff, and the crowd laughed in response.

“That is Lizzo,” Cohen clarified.   

“She is precious though, Lizzo is precious,” Minkoff said in an attempt to save Hilton from her blunder.

“That’s what I call her, her nickname is ‘Precious’ to me,” Hilton added.

Hilton Faces Backlash

Many online were quick to condemn Hilton for the mix-up, horrified that instead of passing on the question, she offered up the name of a fictional Black character. Sidibe was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Precious.

“When Precious came out, a lot of people used the character’s name as a derogatory label to fuel their fatphobia and to bully,” one person wrote. “So no, I don’t think that it’s funny that Lizzo, home minding her own business, had to watch herself be called Precious in front of millions on live tv.”

“Now, I know Kathy Hilton doesn’t know much, but how the hell did she manage to confuse Lizzo with Gabourey Sidibe?” another person said. “That certainly plays into the ‘we all look alike to them’ trope.”

Some suggested that Hilton may have confused Lizzo for model Precious Lee, but argued that either way, “Kathy was wrong.”

“Whether it was Precious Lee or ‘Precious,’ the fictitious character, guess what? Neither are Lizzo and and ‘I don’t know’ would have sufficed,” one Twitter user wrote. “Black people get confused often. And yes, it’s often racist.”

As Hilton’s mistake began to trend on Twitter, a handful of fans ushered to her defense, arguing that she is known for her confusion and did not mean to offend with her remark. 

Still, many believed that was not a strong enough justification. 

“These women look nothing alike,” one person said. “It’s unclear why you’re willing to die on this anti-Black, fatphobic hill. Saying ‘Kathy confuses everyone’ is her failing. It excuses nothing.”

According to the Queens of Bravo Twitter account, Hilton responded to an Instagram comment blaming the matter on her poor vision. 

“The screen was so far away and my vision is terrible if you recall,” she wrote in the screenshotted comment.

See what others are saying: (Entertainment Weekly) (USA Today) (The Cut)

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Jennette McCurdy Explains “Attention-Grabbing” Memoir Title: It’s “Something I Mean Sincerely”

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The book sparked public discourse about child stardom and parental abuse after hitting shelves on Tuesday. 


McCurdy Speaks to Sincerity of Title

Jennette McCurdy shocked audiences when she announced her memoir would be titled “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” but the former Nickelodeon star says the name comes with good reason. 

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” was released on Tuesday to high anticipation. It has already been praised for its vulnerable examination of child stardom and the often dark realities that lurk behind the glamor of Hollywood. 

In the book, McCurdy discusses the abuse she faced at the hands of her mother, who forced her into acting at a young age, as well as the abuse she faced on set by a high-power figure at Nickelodeon. 

McCurdy’s mother died after a long battle with breast cancer in 2013. She says the title speaks to how she genuinely feels looking back on those events. 

“This title, is, I get that it’s attention-grabbing,” McCurdy told “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. “But it’s also something I mean sincerely. I’m not saying it at all in a flippant way.” 

“I think that anybody who has experienced parental abuse understands this title and I think anybody who has a sense of humor understands this title,” she continued.

“What do you think your mom would say about it?” host George Stephanopoulos asked. 

“I wouldn’t have written the book if my mom were alive,” the former “iCarly” star explained. “I would still have my identity dictated by her.” 

Allegations in Memoir

According to published excerpts of the memoir, McCurdy said she grew up striving to please her mother, but has realized in hindsight that much of her mother’s behavior was abusive. When young McCurdy would express that she wanted to quit acting, her mother would respond with sobs, pleading that her daughter loves her career and should continue it. 

McCurdy also wrote that when she was eight years old, her mother insisted on wiping her behind after using the bathroom, claiming she did not believe McCurdy could do so correctly on her own. The actress said she experienced similar disturbing behavior through her tweens as her mother bathed and showered her, regularly giving her “breast and ‘front butt’” exams to check for cancer.

McCurdy further alleges that her mother aided her in having an eating disorder when she was just 11 years old. In hopes of fighting off puberty, McCurdy told her mother she wanted to stay small. Her mother suggested they try calorie restriction, cutting McCurdy’s intake to just 1,000 calories per day. Sometimes, McCurdy said she would only eat 500 calories. She felt this restriction brought her closer to and impressed her mother.

After struggling with anorexia for several years, McCurdy later began binge eating and suffering from bulimia. 

Through therapy and other coping tools, she learned how to process these traumas and reckon with the truths behind her upbringing. 

“My whole childhood and adolescence were very exploited,” McCurdy told The New York Times. “It still gives my nervous system a reaction to say it. There were cases where people had the best intentions and maybe didn’t know what they were doing. And also cases where they did — they knew exactly what they were doing.”

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (E! News) (Entertainment Tonight)

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Minneapolis Venue Cancels Chapelle Performance At Last-Minute, Show Moves to New Theater

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The club issued an apology to its staff and supporters, promising to hold itself to a higher standard.


Chappelle Dropped From First Avenue

A famed performance venue in Minneapolis canceled a scheduled show from Dave Chappelle just hours before it began on Wednesday after facing backlash for booking the comedian.

First Avenue posted a statement to its social media accounts announcing that Chapelle would instead be performing at Varsity Theater, which was already set to host him Thursday and Friday. The switch up came as Chappelle has repeatedly faced backlash for making jokes aimed at the transgender community.

“To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you and we are sorry,” First Avenue said. “We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down. We are not just a black box with people in it, and we understand that First Ave is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls.” 

The club went on to note that its staff and supporters have worked hard to make the venue a safe space.

“We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have,” the statement continued. “We know there are some who will not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback.”

Protests at Varsity Theater

Varsity Theater followed up by confirming that it would honor First Avenue ticketholders at its doors. 

The last-minute decision prompted swift confusion on Twitter from people who wondered why First Avenue waited so long to drop Chappelle. Some speculated that staffers at the venue refused to work the gig, while others pointed to a Change.org petition that said Chappelle is “dangerous to trans people” and argued First Avenue has “a duty to protect the community.”

That petition only collected 126 signatures, but regardless of where the backlash came from, it was severe enough for First Avenue to make the abrupt decision. 

According to the Star Tribune, frustrations were significant enough that critics eventually directed their attention to Varsity Theater after it agreed to book Chappelle on Wednesday. Around 40 protesters stood outside the theater before the show started shouting “trans lives matter.”

So far, Chappelle has not released a statement about the theater switch. He has defended himself against accusations of transphobia, and his special “The Closer” — which first prompted the swell of criticism — has since become Emmy-nominated.

See what others are saying: (NPR) (Deadline) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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