Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films has been sued by the family of Melvin B. Tolson, who was portrayed by Denzel Washington in the 2007 film “The Great Debaters.”
The suit was filed in federal court in Louisiana on Wednesday by David Wayne Semien, described as the succession representative and legal guardian of several of Tolson’s relatives. The Weinstein Company and Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Distribution are also named in the suit.
“The defendants never requested, nor did Mr. Tolson’s heirs ever give the defendants consent to use or exploit Mr. Tolson’s name, image, likeness in making and distributing a film about his life without any consideration or cause,” the lawsuit reads. “The Tolson estate was not compensated in any monetary way for the defendants’ use of Mr. Tolson’s name, distinctive attributes, and unique life experiences.”
SOURCE: The Wrap – Tim Kenneally