Days after OWN’s drama “Love Is_” was cancelled, Salim Akil’s accuser and former mistress Amber Dixon Brenner is finally speaking out. And it gets real.
Brenner, a screenwriter and actress, recently told Deadline that Mara Brock-Akil, Salim’s wife and show co-creator, was fully aware of her husband’s 10-year affair with Brenner.
Also, Brenner admitted that what prompted her to go public was seeing Mara speaking out in support for the #MeToo movement, meanwhile her own husband was violent towards women.
“It started when Mara was on the cover of some magazine and she stood along with other women in the industry talking about #MeToo or Time’s Up. I read it and I was appalled and I felt disregarded and that the issues from the relationship that in the past I had tried to resolve or discuss regarding violence she was very silent about. Like not responding to texts earlier on in the relationship.”
She also states that she emailed the Girlfriends creator to talk about the issue as well.
“I wrote her an email saying how is it that you come forward now when in your private life you knew that your husband had a habit of hitting me? The letter I wrote was very thorough. I said I came to know it as reflective of the definition of abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and the abuse of power also based upon their stature in the industry and otherwise.”
When asked about her thoughts on OWN canceling the show, she stated that they “did the right thing” by axing the show after her lawsuit against him became public.
“I did feel a sense of this is the right thing, this is correct response from the OWN network. This is a correct response to Salim and Mara and it felt like a bit of an acknowledgment of what I had gone through.”
Yet she added that the entire situation is “terrible.”
“Look, it’s a sad situation. It’s a terrible situation that I was ever in the predicament of having to call him out and her out. It’s tragic to me that these things ever happened. It’s tragic to me that my work was stolen and then misappropriated to their supposed love story.
Finally, when asked why she filed the lawsuit, Brenner stressed she had to in order to live her truth.
“I got to a point where I could no longer live with myself and be the mother I wanted to be, be the Amber I always dreamed of being if I tolerated the history of the abuse…I could not walk with my head up.”
As we previously reported, despite being renewed earlier this summer for a second season, OWN reps announced on Wednesday (Dec. 19) that they were cancelling the show.
“OWN has decided not to move forward with the second season of Love Is __,” a network spokesperson said.
The popular drama was based on how the Akil’s met in the 90s and fell in love.
The cancellation came weeks after Brenner’s lawsuit against Akil came public. In it, she accused him of of domestic violence and breach. Papers that Brenner filed on November 20, 2018, claim she had a lengthy “physically and sexually abusive relationship” with Akil that occurred during his marriage to Mara.
Brenner is also suing the “Black Lightning” co-creator for breach of contract accusing Akil of taking her 2015 script “Luv & Perversity in the East Village”about their relationship and using part of that script for his OWN show Love Is without her consent, knowledge and compensation.
Last month, Jezebel reported that Brenner’s lawsuit paints a disturbing picture of Akil and their relationship, which included the following:
- Multiple claims of physical and sexual abuse i.e. forcing her to perform oral sex on him which ended with him urinating in her mouth.
- Outside his house on Martha’s Vineyard, she alleges that “he proceeded to stick three fingers up her anus and started lecturing her.”
- Multiple instances of him slapping and strangling her during sex.
- Him taking sexual pictures of her without her consent.
- Bouts of verbal abuse threatening that if she ever got pregnant he would dispose of her in a desert if and said if they were married and she cheated on him, “he would stick her hand in a hot skillet of grease.”
No word on whether the CW will cancel the Akil’s other show “Black Lightning.”
Read Brenner’s interview with Deadline in its entirety here.