Warner Bros. Is Looking Into Black Lightning Showrunner Salim Akil Amid Allegations of Abuse [Update]

Salim Akil at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017.
Salim Akil at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017.
Photo: Mike Coppola (Getty Windle)

Following a lawsuit and allegations of domestic violence against Black Lightning showrunner and executive producer Salim Akil, Warner Bros. has reportedly launched an investigation of its own into his conduct.


Last week, actress Amber Dixon Brenner filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles claiming that over the course of her 10-year-affair with Akil that ended last year, there were multiple instances of “physical abuse and non-consensual sexual contact.” Additionally, Brenner’s lawsuit alleges that Akil stole ideas from a semi-autobiographical screenplay Brenner wrote about her relationship with him and subsequently used those ideas for the series Love Is on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The details alleged in Brenner’s lawsuit are graphic and often violent, and though it doesn’t make mention of Akil’s behavior on the set of Black Lightning (which he executive produces along with his wife Mara Brock Akil) or with any of the show’s crew, Deadline reports today that Warner Bros. is conducting its own internal investigation into the showrunner. The report says:

While not saying anything publicly and taking a stance of innocent until proven guilty when it comes to the EP, the studio will be conducting an inquiry with cast and crew on the Atlanta filmed show and OWN’s Love Is, we’ve learned.

WBTV reps had no comment when contacted by Deadline, but the investigation formally started today.

While the outcome of WB’s investigation into Akil remains to be seen, Deadline says the move is “now pretty standard practice in such circumstances. ” A similar investigation was conducted by the studio around this time last year which resulted in the suspension and ultimate termination of The Flash and Supergirl showrunner Andrew Kreisberg. He was accused by multiple sources of repeatedly sexually harassing a number of co-workers while on set.

Update—After publication, Salim Akil’s legal representation sent us the following statement:

“These allegations are deeply upsetting - but they are also totally untrue. 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.”

For more, make sure you’re following us on our new Instagram @io9dotcom.


Charles Pulliam-Moore is an NYC-based culture critic whose work centers on fandom, pop culture, politics, race, and sexuality. He still thinks Cyclops made a few valid points.


Angrier Geek

Between this and Neil DeGrasse Tyson...sigh.  Is everyone shit?