Man sues 'Empire' team for $1 billion
A California man is looking to take down Fox’s Empire.
Ron Newt, author of the book and script “Bigger than Big,” is suing Rupert Murdoch/Fox Broadcasting, Empire, Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Terrence Howard, and Malcolm Spellman for copyright infringement and plagiarism, according to the suit filed on April 15, 2015 in California. In the $1 billion suit, Newt alleges the Empire team stole his story and outlines the similiarities point by point. Some are minor: Lucious Lyon and Ron wear the “same style” of coats, Lucious’s ex-wife Cookie and Ron’s wife “China Doll” have the “same look” in a hat. Others seem a bit bigger: Lucious allegedly killed four drug dealers “back in the day,” and in Chapter 7 of “Bigger than Big,” four drug dealers are killed. Someone shoots a longtime friend in both works.
Newt alleges that he met with Terrence Howard (who plays Lucious Lyon) at the Four Seasons Hotel “to discuss Ron’s life story in the book ‘Bigger than Big,'” the suit claims. “Terrence told Ron that he wanted to play him in the film. Terrence was given the book and script of ‘Bigger than Big.'” Newt’s script, according to the suit’s Statement of Facts, is based on “a true and fictional story of a feuding entertainment industrial family. After being a gangster, pimp, and drug dealer, Ron Newt, a known ghetto player, plays himself in the documentary.”
A representative from Fox did not immediately respond to EW‘s request for comment.