Oprah Winfrey Sued By Pastor Who Made Serious Claims That She Stole From Him

Posted On : April 20, 2018

As Oprah Winfrey and the OWN network film prepare for the third season of “Greenleaf,” a pastor is coming forward with serious allegations against the former talk show host. According to Vulture, a pastor is accusing Winfrey of stealing the idea for the hit show, “Greenleaf.” It has been reported that Pastor Lester Eugene Barrie and Shannan Lynette Wynn filed a lawsuit in federal court last week accusing Winfrey and the network of stealing their idea and profiting off of it.

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Preying On The Less Powerful?:

The suit explains how many of the powers that be in Hollywood have often gotten away with crimes and offenses due to status and wealth.” Using the string of sexual harassment claims as an example, the suit went on to argue the similarities between sexual harassment victims and those who suffer losses due to creative theft and infringement:

“Hollywood has been the subject of extreme scrutiny due to revelations of what has been an undisclosed, decades-long history of abuse, sexual harassment, and discrimination by those in power. On a different front, and just as pervasive, has been the flagrant pilfering of the creative; specifically, the victimization of the hard-working, dedicated writers, authors, and creators whose toil and artistic works have been stolen, misattributed and exploited by the unscrupulous and untouchable titans and high-status players of the entertainment industry. Creative theft, in Hollywood, has become a cottage industry.”

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A Devil In The Details?:

The lawsuit alleges that OWN’s “Greenleaf” is an identical copy of Pastor Barrie and Wynn’s original work titled “Justice & Glory.” In many similar cases, people have noted similarities in their work and the creative works produced for film and television. But this particular suit is a bit different because the plaintiffs claim Winfrey didn’t even attempt to change any aspects of their production. Even the small details are the same. “Years later, Plaintiffs saw their work produced and exploited by Defendants under a different name: ‘Greenleaf.’”

“[T]hey didn’t even seek to hide the theft; they used the same character names, and copied verbatim unique and novel storylines, themes, subplots and the overall tone of the show. They even named their antagonist after Plaintiff Pastor Barrie (Pastor Basie in ‘Greenleaf’). The setting of Defendants’ ‘Greenleaf’ is identical to that of Plaintiffs’ ‘Justice & Glory. ‘ Both shows are dramas that take place in the South and center around a powerful, African-American family dynasty and their sprawling megachurch,” the complaint adds. “The families of both shows live together in a mansion-style home sitting on a large plot of land, have private jets and live an affluent lifestyle. Their lives all center around the mega-church activities and people affiliated with the church in one aspect or another.”

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Major Success For Own:

“Greenleaf” is probably one of the most popular shows on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. The “Greenleaf” family appears to be the epitome of sophistication and affluence carrying themselves in a Godly manner to set a positive example for their congregation. But behind closed doors, the prestigious family lives a relatively different lifestyle. Buried family secrets have created all kinds of strains between many of the family members and years of resentment continue to plague their relationships. In many cases, the past continues to haunt the family rearing it’s ugly head into the present. As secrets are exposed, problems continue to arise. To most fans, “Greenleaf” is a brilliant, well-written series. It’s probably safe to say, Oprah will clap back with a strong legal team to protect the integrity of the show.

Although the allegations are serious, there’s still a strong possibility the plaintiffs will be fighting an uphill battle to prove the allegations. By now, most people probably know there have been many other productions, released prior to “Greenleaf,” that actually have similar storylines but it hasn’t been considered an act of creative encroachment. So, we’ll just have to see how this turns out.

Back in August of 2017, it was announced that “Greenleaf” had been renewed for a third season. According to Deadline, the network also turned heads last month when it was revealed that Patti LaBelle had been added to the cast. The network is currently filming season three in Atlanta, GA. “Greenleaf” is set to return with its new season sometime this summer.