A Detroit woman claiming to be the “real-life Cookie Lyon” is suing Fox and Empire co-creator Lee Daniels for $300 million, which is totally something the real-life Cookie Lyon would do.
Sophia Eggleston, a self-proclaimed former “drug kingpin” who has twice served prison time—once on drug charges, and once for placing a hit on someone—says that Daniels lifted numerous specific details from her life and incorporated them into the character of Cookie. The suit, which was presumably served stuffed into a leopard-print stiletto and hurled through the window of Daniels’ office, also says that Cookie is “similar in behavior, style of dress, and background” to Eggleston, who indeed has the same taste for bold prints, mink stoles, and statement headgear as her alleged TV counterpart. The suit also says that Empire copied the “traits, sexual preferences, and behavior of those around” Eggleston, a reference to her son, who is gay. (Whether she calls people “boo boo kitty” is unknown.)
And Eggleston may have a case: In 2011, Eggleston met with screenwriter Rita Miller about optioning the rights to her memoir, The Hidden Hand. Several months later, Eggleston says, she got a call from Miller saying that she was meeting with Lee Daniels and pitching him Eggleston’s life story. That was the last she heard about it—until the first season of Empire aired earlier this year. If Eggleston can prove that the meeting actually took place—and that Daniels actually read her book and didn’t just toss it on a big pile of unsolicited manuscripts—she may be rich enough to hire a whole team of Porshas by this time next year.