Now that the hit OWN show “Love Is …” has been canceled, the woman at the center of the sordid sex scandal that caused the show to be axed is speaking out.
Amber Dixon Brenner, who said she engaged in an abusive and degrading sexual affair with “Black Lightning” director Salim Akil for a decade, claims that Akil’s wife, Mara Brock Akil, was fully aware of their affair. Brenner said her anger boiled over when she saw Mara Akil stand up for the #MeToo movement.
“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 #TimesUp,” Brenner told Deadline. “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.”
Brenner said in the Deadline interview that she confronted Mara Brock Akil about her hypocrisy.
“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,” says Brenner, an actress and screenwriter. “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.”
Brenner said Oprah Winfrey “did the right thing” by axing the show after her lawsuit against Salim Akil hit the public like a bomb.
“I did feel a sense of this is the right thing, this is the 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.”
Brenner said she feels bad about having to put the Akils on blast, but she believes she was left with no choice.
“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,” she said.
Brenner said she filed the lawsuit to maintain her sanity.
“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 rolling out previously reported, Brenner filed a lawsuit against Akil and OWN claiming breach of contract because her writings were allegedly used as the basis for the “Love Is …” show. But Brenner also claimed that Salim Akil committed the following acts against her:
- Multiple acts of physical and sexual abuse, such as 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 and if they were married and she cheated on him, “he would stick her hand in a hot skillet of grease.”
What do you make of the Brenner interview?