Everyone is trying to get their piece of Empire’s fame and cash, including a woman from Detroit who is now suing the show. Sophia Eggleston says she’s the real life Cookie Lyon, and has filed a $300 million lawsuit against Lee Daniels and Fox, and says they stole her life’s story.
Eggleston, 53, who says in the suit she was a “drug kingpin” who did jail time for manslaughter for placing a “hit” on a man, claims she wrote her life story into a memoir about her “early drug lifestyle” titled “The Hidden Hand.” In 2011, she traveled to LA to meet with screenwriter Rita Miller and gave Miller a copy of her book. Her copyright suit, filed in US District Court in Michigan, says she got a call from Miller several months later saying she was going to pitch her story to Daniels.
But when the show aired in 2015, Eggleston says, the Cookie character “was similar in behavior, style of dress, and background” to her. The suit says she was “dismayed to see the various similarities of events and characters . . . so numerous and specific, especially . . . Cookie Lyon, that independent creation was obviously impossible.”
The suit alleges specific similarities to Eggleston’s life: “Cookie was a drug kingpin that went to jail. So did plaintiff Eggleston. Cookie is released from jail confinement and immediately places a hit on a certain individual. Plaintiff . . . actually was jailed for doing the actual hit on a man.”
If Eggleston brings the receipts, she may actually have a chance at winning the lawsuit.