Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil is being investigated by WBTV over the sexual assault allegations against him. Married to fellow producer Mara Brock, Akil has worked on a variety of projects, frequently collaborating with his accomplished spouse. Akil has produced the TV show Love Is for OWN and directed the 2012 film Sparkle, but he's perhaps best known as the showrunner on Black Lightning. The CW series provides a modern day platform for the DC Comics character Jefferson Pierce aka. Black Lightning.
Starring Cress Williams, Black Lightning earned favorable reviews during the first season and is currently in the midst of airing its second season on The CW. Unfortunately, the show is now making headlines because of a lawsuit that has been filed against its showrunner Salim Akil, alleging that he committed sexual assault during an extramarital affair.
According to The Wrap, Akil allegedly participated in an extramarital ten year affair with his accuser, writer/actor Amber Dixon Brenner. Brenner's lawsuit not only implicates Akil in said affair, but also accuses him of physical abuse, sexual abuse and potential theft of intellectual property (using her ideas within his show Love Is). Although these accusations remain outside the realm of Black Lightning and WBTV, the production company is carrying out their due diligence by starting an investigation in order to ensure the safety of the series' cast and crew. For the time being, however, production on Black Lightning season 2 has not been suspended in light of WBTV's investigation.
Despite the slowing of accusations, the ripple effect created by the #MeToo movement can still be felt throughout the entertainment industry. Through the acknowledgment of a litany of mishandled sexual assault cases, Hollywood appears to be on the verge of understanding how to handle sexual assault. WBTV's investigation of Akil in the wake of the allegations against him serves to further prove just that.
In the past, a decision like this (that is, taking precautions and investigating sexual assault accusations on a TV show set where none has been alleged) might have been perceived by some as a step too far by WBTV. However, in today's society, taking proper precautions and enunciating company standards like this may represent the first steps towards change in the entertainment industry at large for the better.
Black Lightning season 2 will continue with "The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus" on Tuesday, December 4 on The CW.
Source: The Wrap