‘Empire’ Co-Creator, Lee Daniels Sued for Not Paying Actors

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Lee Daniels, the Oscar-nominated director and co-creator of Empire, is now getting sued by the actors’ union for not paying actors.

According to reports, the director of Precious was hit with a lawsuit on Tuesday from the SAG-AFTRA. The guild argues that Daniels’ company has failed to pay residuals or make required pension and health contributions to performers on his 2005 him Shadowboxer, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Daniels made Shadowboxer, which starred Cuba Gooding Jr., Helen Mirren and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement for independent producers but has failed to send along required reports about the distribution of the movie or make payments.

SAG-AFTRA took Daniels to confidential arbitration over this issue all the way back in 2009.

According to a 2011 arbitration decision, Daniels production company owed more than “$335,000, consisting of $169,630 in residuals, $25,323 in pension and health contributions and $93,544 in late payment liquidated damages, plus more for taxes and expenses.”

SAG-AFTRA is now looking for a federal judge to confirm the arbitration against Shadowboxer, LLC and Lee Daniels Entertainment. The union says it has attempted to contact Daniels but he has not responded.

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This is not the first time SAG-AFTRA has went after a director or production company. Several months ago, Tyler Perry was placed on the “Do Not Work” list. SAG-AFTRA says that if it finds out that any of its members work on Tyler Perry’s play, it will be viewed as a “unbecoming a member” which means their is a serious chance they will be kicked out of the union and unable to work on major TV shows and movies that work alongside the SAG-AFTRA.

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