Idris Elba is one of the few entertainment figures who have managed to maintain a clean profile since his debut. However, recently two females writers have openly accused him of ripping off their words. The Bastille Day actor has been working on a play titled Tree, and according to Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley, four years of their hard work has been shafted.
The three British artists were reportedly developing the play together for quite some time, but Allen-Martin and Henley state that Elba gradually edged them out using “intimidation and disrespect” tactics, according to Page Six. If you look at Tree’s credit lines, it shows Elba and another writer Kwame Kwei-Armah as being responsible for penning the play. However, Allen-Martin and Henley insist that just isn’t so.
Elba publicly responded to the accusations on Thursday by sharing a statement on social media. He admitted that his two former collaborators were instrumental in the budding idea stages of the project, but he never plagiarized anything and finds that accusation “offensive and troubling.”
“We wanted to offer an opportunity to support these new writers while creating a piece of work of scale and to a director’s vision,” Elba wrote. “As new ambitions started to be proposed for the jump off point for development, Tori & Sarah decided they didn’t want to pursue the early thoughts and declined to work any further on the project,” he wrote. “This is not uncommon in the development process. They expressed their reasoning and we respected their decision. We were left without any writers and had to start work very quickly, which is our contractual right as beholder of the original idea, the album.”
“The outcome is an accusation of plagiarism and discrimination. However frustrating this has been for all, we will continue to offer opportunities and to support the next generation of writers and talent.”