Fracas Arises Over a Gay|Bar Internet TV Show

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A dispute over rights to an Internet comedy series about a lesbian soccer star who runs a gay bar has led an investor to sue her ex-girlfriend, accusing her of failing to repay “thousands of dollars” and of slandering her by accusing her of jewel theft.
     Cathy DeBuono and Sarah Blakeman sued Jill Bennett and Red String Productions, in Superior Court.
     They claim that Bennett, DeBuono’s former girlfriend, and Red String reneged on an agreement to repay their investment in “Second Shot,” an Internet series about a lesbian soccer star who returns to her home town to run a gay bar. All three women invested in the project, as Red String Productions, with Blakeman the major investor, according to the complaint.
     “Pursuant to the oral agreement entered into by DeBuono, Blakeman and Bennett, each one of them owns an equal portion of 50 percent of the project (under Red String), while Blakeman alone owns the remaining 50 percent as the major investor on the project. DeBuono, Blakeman and Bennett agreed that Blakeman would be the first to be repaid, plus 20 percent. There are no other owners of the project,” the complaint states.
     But after the series was filmed, Bennett claimed to be its sole owner, and that the other women had no rights to the project “whatsoever,” according to the lawsuit.
     “Upon completion of the project, Bennett claimed that the project was hers alone, and even entered into agreements with various persons and entities regarding the project without authorization from (or even notification to) Blakeman and DeBuono,” the complaint states. “Bennett also purportedly gave away partial ownership of the project. Bennett stated to Blakeman and DeBuono that Blakeman’s investment would be repaid only after others were paid first, and that Blakeman and DeBuono had no rights or interest in the project whatsoever.”
     Blakeman and DeBuono claim that Bennett intended to “abscond” with the series when she solicited their investment.
     “As a result of Bennett’s misrepresentations and fraud, plaintiffs lost thousands of dollars and their interest in the project,” the complaint states.
     DeBuono claims Bennett also falsely accused her of breaking into the home they shared and of stealing Bennett’s property, including Bennett’s grandmother’s ring.
     “Bennett made slanderous statements about DeBuono to several individuals associated with the project and with the entertainment industry, including that DeBuono had ‘stolen’ Bennett’s grandmother’s ring, and that DeBuono had ‘broke into’ [sic] Bennett and DeBuono’s home and that other items ‘went missing,’ even though Bennett had illegally locked DeBuono out of DeBuono and Bennett’s home, and DeBuono had not stolen any of Bennett’s items. Bennett even implied that DeBuono had ‘stolen’ a gun from the home. These false statements were also made to several of De Buono and Bennett’s close friends and business acquaintances,” according to the complaint.
     DeBuono claims Bennett secretly recorded a conversation between them and “repeatedly threatened DeBuono that she will use the recording against DeBuono in an effort to tarnish DeBuono’s career and reputation.”
     Bennett did not respond to an email request for comment.
     Blakeman and DeBuono seek a temporary restraining order to stop Bennett from marketing and selling the show, an accounting and damages for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and defamation.
     They are represented by Michael J. Gulden.

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