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According to Radar Online, Brunson and ABC are being sued by aspiring writer, actress, and performer Christine Davis for copyright infringement. Davis claims Brunson and the network ripped off her show, This School Year, which follows a similar premise and school setting.
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In her lawsuit, the aspiring writer expressed that both parties used Abbott Elementary to reproduce the “look and feel of the inner-city school, the mockumentary style, unique plot synopsis, set design and unique characters” from her original script without Davis’ consent. Davis allegedly wrote This School Year‘s script in 2018 and had it officially registered with the United States Copyright Office in March 2020, one year prior to Abbott Elementary‘s ABC debut.
In July 2020, Davis allegedly passed This School Year‘s script to two women named Shavon Sullivan Wright and Cherisse Parks at Blue Park Productions. The aspiring writer claimed she had “at least three meetings about her work.”
Per the documents obtained by Radar, the lawsuit claimed the two women told Christine, “ABC and Hulu were looking for black, female-led comedies.” Davis said Wright and Parks took her show to Hulu but it led nowhere. Davis said ABC began shooting Abbott Elementary in September 2020, with Quinta Brunson serving as the lead actress and creator of the school-centric comedy.
“Additionally, the main characters are all stingingly and substantially similar. From the triad of young teachers whose roles are nearly identical,” the lawsuit against Brunson and ABC reads.
— Abbott Elementary (@AbbottElemABC) July 12, 2022
The in-court documents reportedly reveal Davis’ show is a television comedy set in a New York City public school where the principal hires filmmakers to film a school documentary.
Christine’s version of the show allegedly follows a principal convinced everything is going well with her school, and the “teachers and students will adhere to her agents.” But, to the principal’s surprise, the teachers have their own plans for the documentary and school. The court documents describe Ms. David as This School Year‘s main character as a “young, idealistic teacher hoping to get tenure but also trying to convince everyone that the school needs to be reformed.”
Christine Davis’ lawsuit mandates that Quinta Brunson and ABC pay out all their profits from Abbott Elementary‘s duration on the air. Quinta Bronson and ABC have yet to make a comment.