An actor from Philly is suing Lee Daniels over Empire. Clayton Prince Tanksley, 50, claims Daniels stole his concept and turned it into the Fox drama.
Tanksley, who played one of Denise Huxtable’s boyfriends on The Cosby Show (check below for the throwback clip), claims he privately pitched Daniels his idea for a project called Cream during an event in 2008.
In the lawsuit, filed last week, Tanksley notes a “particularly significant” similarity between his and Daniels shows. “Cream and Empire are set, counterintuitively, in Philadelphia, which is certainly not known as a hot spot in the recording industry,” the suit states, adding “Each of the male protagonists are from Philadelphia and have risen beyond their criminal pasts to establish record label businesses in that city.”
Daniels, like Tanksley, is a Philly native.
Another curiously similar aspect is the ”focus on an African-American male who has overcome a disadvantaged/criminal past to achieve financial success in (sic) music industry only to be exploited by those closest to him,” reads the suit.
Tanksley also says both shows have characters with sons who have mental issues.
Daniels hasn’t responded to lawsuit, but he’s been accused of stealing Empire before.