Woman Claiming to Be the Real 'Cookie' From 'Empire' Files $300 Million Lawsuit

by Raphael Chestang 8:45 PM PDT, August 04, 2015
Playing Woman Claiming to Be the Real 'Cookie' From 'Empire' Files $300 Million Lawsuit

Fox's popular soap opera Empire might be facing more drama off-screen than in the pages of the show this season. Fox and series co-creator's Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have been named in a $300 million lawsuit filed by a Detroit woman, who claims the story is based on her life.

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In court documents, plaintiff Sophia Eggleston, 53, says that, Empire's central character Cookie Lyon (played by Taraji P. Henson) "was similar in behavior, style of dress and background" to her. Eggleston says she was a drug kingpin who went to jail and also claims that she placed a hit on someone similarly to the way Cookie did.

Eggleston claims that her memoir The Hidden Hand was pitched to Daniels before the show was created and that "there is no possibility the similarities are ... mere coincidence." Strong has said that he was inspired by Shakespeare.

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"Empire was just some random idea I had," Strong told The Wire last year. "I was literally driving my car and I thought, I wonder if you do King Lear in a hip hop empire. I literally was like: 'King Lear: Hip-Hop Empire.' And then my next thought was, 'I should call Lee Daniels.'"

Neither Lee Daniels nor Fox could be reached for comment.