Quinta Brunson is being accused stealing the idea for Abbott Elementary from another writer. A woman named Christine Davis claimed Abbott Elementary is a clear rip-off of a show she wrote titled This School Year, Radar Online reported. Davis is now suing Brunson and ABC for copyright infringement.
“Without [Davis’] permission, license, authority, or consent, [Brunson & ABC] knowingly and illegal used [Davis’] works to create the Abbott Elementary television show,” read he lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, This School Year is set in a New York City public school. The principal hires filmmakers to make a documentary about the school. While the principal thinks the students and teachers are on board with the doc, they have their own plans in motion. The main character is Ms. David, a “young, idealistic teacher hoping to get tenure but also trying to convince everyone that the school needs to be reformed.”
“Additionally, the main characters are all stingingly and substantially similar,” the lawsuit stated. “From the triad of young teachers whose roles are nearly identical.”
The lawsuit added that the “look and feel of the inner-city school, the mockumentary style, unique plot synopsis, set design and unique characters from” her script for This School Year.
Davis said that registered her show with the United States Copyright Office in March of 2020. In July 2020, she said she showed her script to two women named Shavon Sullivan Wright and Cherisse Parks at Blue Park Productions. Davis claims that they told her that ABC and HULU were looking for comedies led by Black women. After three meetings about the show, Davis claimed that Parks and Wright took the show to HULU. After that, she didn’t hear anything back from Parks, Wright or the networks. Abbott Elementary began filming in Sept. 2020.
For compensation, Davis wants all of the profits Brunson and ABC have made from Abbott Elementary.
This lawsuit comes after Quinta Brunson made history. After three Emmy nominations, Brunson is now the youngest Black woman ever nominated in the comedy acting category. She snagged nominations for outstanding comedy series, lead actress in a comedy and writing for a comedy series.