Girlfriends creator Mara Brock Akil’s latest series, Love Is_, has been cancelled by OWN as her husband and show executive producer, Salim Akil, faces physical and sexual abuse allegations from a woman claiming to be his ex-lover.
Last month, Salim was accused of repeated “non-consensual assault and battery” by actress Amber Dixon Brenner. She claims they carried on an extramarital affair during his marriage to Mara, ending things just last year, according to court documents obtained by Deadline.
“These acts caused significant physical and emotional harm to the Plaintiff and were abusive; i.e., Akil intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury, or placing Plaintiff in reasonable apprehension of bodily injury,” reads the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The suit also accuses Salim of copyright infringement, claiming he stole the idea for Love Is_ from her, and shared it with his wife to pitch to OWN.
Salim has denied all allegations. His attorney, Stephen D. Barnes of Barnes, Morris, Klein & Yorn, released the following statement to Deadline Dec. 2.
“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.”
Still, it wasn’t enough to keep Love Is_ on the air, even after already announcing its return for Season 2 this summer.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.