Quinta Brunson and ABC Facing Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over 'Abbott Elementary'
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Quinta Brunson, ABC Network, Facing Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over ‘Abbott Elementary’

(ABC/Ser Baffo) QUINTA BRUNSON

The celebration for multiple-Emmy-nominated Abbott Elementary has been hampered by a lawsuit.

Quinta Brunson and ABC, which airs the hit sitcom, are facing a lawsuit.

According to Radar Online, Christine Davis, an aspiring writer, actress, and performer, is suing Brunson and ABC for copyright infringement. The suit claims that Abbott Elementary is a rip-off of her show, This School Year, which was written in 2018 and officially registered with the United States Copyright Office in March 2020.

Davis’ registration occurred one year prior to Abbott Elementary‘s ABC debut. Yet, she claims in the lawsuit that both Brunson and the network replicated the “look and feel of the inner-city school, the mockumentary style, unique plot synopsis, set design and unique characters” from her original script without her permission, Vibe reported.

In July 2020, Davis said she passed the script of This School Year to two women named Shavon Sullivan Wright and Cherisse Parks at Blue Park Productions. The aspiring writer claimed she had “at least three meetings about her work.”

Davis said she was informed by the two women that Hulu and ABC were seeking out black, female-led comedies, so they took the script to Hulu. However, nothing came from it.

By September 2020, ABC began shooting Abbott Elementary and Brunson was credited as the show’s creator and lead, according to Davis.

“Additionally, the main characters are all stingingly and substantially similar. From the triad of young teachers whose roles are nearly identical,” Davis’ lawsuit reads, per Vibe.

The court documents reveal that This School Year is a television comedy set in a New York City public school where the principal invites filmmakers to film a documentary.

In Davis’ version of the comedy, the principal believes that the “teachers and students will adhere to her agents” during the documentary. But the teachers, staff, and students have their own plans.

The Black female lead is Ms. David. She’s described as “young, idealistic teacher hoping to get tenure but also trying to convince everyone that the school needs to be reformed,” according to Radar.

Meanwhile, Brunson’s character plays as a rookie second grade teacher in an under-resourced, majority Black public elementary school in Philadelphia.

Davis’ lawsuit is ultimately demanding that Brunson and ABC pay out all of the show’s profits they made.

The legal trouble comes just a day after Brunson, Abbott Elementary, and  her castmates received Emmy nominations. As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, Brunson earned Emmy nominations for acting, writing, and in the comedy series category.


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