Starz’s ‘P-Valley’ Slapped With Lawsuit, Accused of Ripping Off Play About Strip Club

Lionsgate accused of infringing the copyright of the 2011 play “Soul Kittens Cabaret”

p-valley starz
"P-Valley" (Starz)

A lawsuit claiming copyright infringement was filed in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday against Lionsgate Entertainment and Starz over their series “P-Valley.”

Plaintiff Nicole Gilbert-Daniels alleges the hit show, which debuted in July 2020, has several notable similarities to her musical stage play, “Soul Kittens Cabaret,” which was released on DVD in 2011.

The Starz series was created by Katori Hall, based on her 2015 play, “Pussy Valley,” and follows several people who work at The Pynk, a strip club in Chucalissa, Mississippi.

Also named in the suit are Legendary Television, Chernin Entertainment, and “P-Valley” executive producer Liz Garcia and co-producer Patrik-Ian-Polk.

The lawsuit alleges the series is a “veritable unauthorized 2020 knock-off of Plaintiff’s ‘Soul Kittens Cabaret,’” and that the defendants “knowingly and illegally used Plaintiff’s works to create the ‘P-Valley’ television series.”

Gilbert-Daniels, whose has produced the TV reality shows “R&B Divas” on TV One and “From The Bottom Up” for BET Her, alleges that, on her behalf, entertainment attorney Leroy Bobbit pitched “Soul Kittens Cabaret” as a musical TV drama to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer at his Los Angeles office in 2014. The lawsuit states Feltheimer was given two copies of her script and the “SKC” DVD.

“During the Lionsgate SKC Pitch, Feltheimer expressed enthusiasm and interest in scripting ‘SKC’ as a musical drama series for Lionsgate and even stated that he loved the character named ‘Tata Burlesque,’” the lawsuit states. “Feltheimer further explained that he enjoyed reading scrips and would read the script over the weekend, share it
with the Lionsgate team, and follow up with Bobbit,” it continues, noting that she never heard from Feltheimer or Lionsgate again.

“P-Valley” was renewed for a second season two weeks after its premiere and has received nominations from the GLAAD Media Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, TCA Awards and the NAACP Image Awards.

Gilbert-Daniels is seeking actual and statutory damages, as well as a jury trial in the civil suit. She is also the lead singer of R&B group Brownstone, best-known for their 1994 hit single “If You Love Me,” which was nominated for a Best R&B Performance Grammy.

A spokesperson for Lionsgate told TheWrap that the company does not comment on matters in litigation. 

Representatives for Starz and Hall did not immediately reply to TheWrap.