Adult Swim has an unholy legal entanglement on its hands over its series “Black Jesus.”
Adult Swim has been slapped with a $75 million copyright lawsuit over the series, by a man who claims the show ripped off a short story of his.
In the suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in New York, Randy Brown, aka Saint Solomon, claims that the series — about a street-smart savior who lives in modern-day Compton, California — infringes on his 1999 short story “Thank You, Jesus.”
“The main plot of the short story focuses on Jesus’ rise. The short story starts with Jesus in Church where he starts to believe that he is the Son of God. He decides to have a sermon to the people where he tries to convince them that he is the Son of God through the performance of ‘miracles,'” the suit reads. “At the end of the short story, Jesus is packing his belongings because he was told to leave his father’s home after his father’s Church was burned down while Jesus was giving his sermon due to a storm. Jesus was told by his father that he was to never come back home.”
The suit alleges that “Black Jesus” picks up where “Thank You, Jesus” left off, and that the two works bear numerous similarities.
“Plaintiff was stunned and dismayed to see the various similarities between the events and characters in the first season of the live action series ‘Black Jesus,'” the lawsuit reads. “The similarities between the characters Black Jesus and Fish were too similar that independent creation of both characters was obviously impossible. The aforementioned characters are remarkably similar to Plaintiff’s characters, Jesus and Speedy, respectively, as depicted in ‘Thank You, Jesus.'”
Among the numerous alleged similarities cited in the lawsuit: In Black Jesus, “Jesus’ best friend is a guy named Fish. Fish’s character is similar to that of [‘Thank You, Jesus’ character] Speedy in that he is looking to make quick money. In ‘Black Jesus,’ Fish is trying to make a lot of money by growing a marijuana garden.”
In addition to Adult Swim, Time Warner, Inc., Turner Broadcasting System, Cartoon Network and “Black Jesus” executive producer Aaron McGruder are also among the defendants.
Adult Swim had no comment on the lawsuit for TheWrap.
Alleging direct and contributory copyright infringement, the suit is seeking $75 million in damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.