Nothing funny about this.
Lee Daniels has been slapped with a $5 million lawsuit by Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash, who alleges that Daniels stiffed him out of a producer credit on a biopic about legendary comedian Richard Pryor.
According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in New York Supreme Court, as part of a settlement stemming from a previous legal matter, Daniels agreed “to use commercially reasonable efforts” to secure Dash a co-executive producer credit on the Pryor film, as well as to pay Dash 5 percent of Daniels’ back-end compensation from the film.
However, the suit alleges, things went south when Daniels bailed on the project.
“Although Mr. Daniels did in fact become a writer, director and producer of the ‘Pryor Film’ as per numerous industry publications, Defendants never informed Plaintiff of the film’s progress, or made any commercially reasonable efforts to obtain the EP consideration (including alternative, mutually-agreed upon, comparable consideration) that he was legally obligated to secure,” the suit reads. “Furthermore, it has been commonly reported amongst reputable sources that Mr. Daniels unilaterally departed from the ‘Pryor Film’ ultimately ending the production.”
The suit says that attorneys for both sides went back and forth for years in an effort to mediate the situation.
“The sum and substance of the initial correspondence was ‘be patient, we will get you that EP consideration we owe you,'” the suit reads. However, by 2018, the complaint contends, it became clear that Daniels didn’t seem to be involved in any comparable projects, and Dash “made clear that further mediation was futile and the EP consideration was well past due and owing.”
In response, Daniels’ side offered “non-comparable alternative consideration and thinly-veiled threats,” the suit says.
Alleging breach of contract and other counts, the suit seeks damages “in an amount to be determined at trial, but estimated at no less than $5 million.”
A rep for Daniels did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the lawsuit.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.