OWN's Love Is ___ Canceled Amid Abuse Claims Against Salim Akil [Updated]

(L-R) Director Salim Akil, actress Oprah Winfrey, writer Mara Brock Akil, and actors Michele Weaver and William Catlett attend the premiere of OWN’s ‘Love Is_’ on June 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: David Livingston (Getty Images)

It’s official: Love Is... no more.

According to Variety, the OWN television show from Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, purportedly based on their epic love story, has been canceled amid allegations brought forth by Amber Dixon Brenner, Salim Akil’s alleged former mistress. Warner Bros. Television has completed its internal investigation and have found no misconduct on the set of Love Is or Black Lightning.

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In the lawsuit filed in November, Brenner’s physical and sexual abuse claims against Akil reached horrific levels, including an allegation that he urinated into Brenner’s mouth during forced oral sex and an incident where he forced her to lick a parking garage wall.

Brenner also accused Akil of ripping the plot from her 2015 screenplay, Luv & Perversity in the East Village, based on their own relationship, and using it as the foundation for Nuri’s (Michele Weaver) and Yasir’s (Will Catlett) love story in the OWN romantic drama.

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Last week, however, Brenner filed a voluntary dismissal without prejudice on the federal case.

“Whereas Plaintiff has a pending State Court action against defendant Salim Akil, the disposition of which many have a bearing on this action, and it is her intent to have that State action proceed,” read the dismissal note.

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OWN announced a second season of the show in July, but it will not be returning, given the questions raised over the narrative’s inspiration. Sources say the show was gearing up for production, having already started the pre-production process. As Deadline reports, the cast and producers were still paid for the second season under contractual obligations.

The cancellation move is expected, given the nightmarish press tour of the show’s second season that would follow. And the show is based on love—namely, the real love saga between Mara and Salimcertainly sexual abuse and cheating claims would severely tarnish that.

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Akil will continue to act as showrunner for CW’s Black Lightning.

Updated: 12/19/2018, 4:41 p.m. ET: Co-creator Mara Brock Akil posted a statement on Instagram Wednesday afternoon about the news, which has left her “saddened.”

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“This was a special tribe—assembling teams like this is by the grace of God—and I will miss not being on set with them to make more magic,” she wrote. “And though I know we will all go on to create more amazing work, I’m grateful there was a moment in time that we came together and had the courage to give our best to try and tell a story about love with love.”

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.