A lot of lying, stealing and cheating happens on-screen in Fox's hit drama "Empire," but one woman is claiming that a fair amount of theft has happened behind the scenes as well. Sophia Eggleston has filed a lawsuit alleging that "Empire" creator Lee Daniels stole her story to create the fan favorite character of Cookie Lyon, played by Taraji P. Henson on the show.
According to TMZ, Eggleston is suing Daniels to the tune of $300 million, saying he stole her life story after an alleged meeting with a screenwriter. She claims she gave the writer a copy of her autobiography in 2011 only to later get a call informing her that she had pitched the book to Daniels. Eggleston says she was never contacted further about the creation of the popular show. Eggleston points out similarities between her life and the character on the show, including her taste in mink fur coats, a gay relative, and the fact she once served jail time for putting out a hit on an enemy.
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This is not the first time "Empire" has been accused of unfairly lifting its fiction from real life. Back in April, TMZ reported that Ron Newt, a former gangster and the subject of the documentary "Bigger Than Life," was suing the show after he noticed glaring similarities between his life and Lucious Lyon’s (Terrence Howard) "Empire" storyline. Newt claimed to have shown Howard the documentary before the show went into production.
As for Cookie, when fans last saw of the troubled Lyon matriarch she was in a tough spot. When Lucious was arrested for the murder of Bunkie (Antoine McKay) in the Season 1 finale, he immediately suspected Cookie. After all, in the same episode he had tried to kick her out of Empire after revealing that she did not have a seat on the board of directors. Despite the possible motive, Cookie did not snitch when approached by the cops, but will she be able to convince Lucious?
Check out Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon in a scene from "Empire" below:
Did Lee Daniels steal Sophia Eggleston's story to create Cookie? Only time will tell. "Empire" will return to Fox for the Season 2 premiere on Sept. 23.