Something is simmering and it's not a pleasant stew. Presenter and choreographer Somizi Mhlongo has had a busy few days. First it was the Instagram live conversation about his marriage, then the allegations from Hastings Moeng that his popular Dinner with Somizi show was taken from the accuser's ideas.
Hastings accused him of stealing his concept for Dinner at Somizi’s. He says he sent him and the director of the show, Nkululeko “Legend” Manqele, his ideas in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
On 28 July 2014, Hastings Moeng proposed #DinnerAtSomizis to Somizi & Themba. The description of the show is materially similar to the one now flighted (to the shock of Mr Moeng). See the 2014 email below and decide for yourself. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/QVcpJIAY8o— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) September 15, 2020
Hasting's lawyer Mabu Marweshe of Marweshe Attorneys says they have documentary evidence to support the claims that his intellectual property was stolen.
The documents have been making the round on social media. “Those are the documents that were handed over by our client and he told us that there were meetings that took place between him and Somizi before that.”
According to Marweshe, it's no coincidence that the show matches the ideas.
“What our client is seeking is acknowledgement that he is the legal owner of the intellectual property and we want Somizi, Legend and Multichoice to make a public apology about what they did.
“Multichoice must now disclose how much the show made and Somizi and Legend got paid and we will then calculate the royalties that belong to our client and enter into a formal binding agreement,” Marweshe says.
“Multichoice went undercover to speak to my client in writing asking to exclude the lawyers because it was going to cost Moeng a lot of money. They want to cut me out and exclude me to cut a deal with him. All we want is to set a very clear example about the stealing of intellectual property.”
Multichoice spokesperson Benedict Maaga says the company is aware of the allegations made by Moeng in relation to Dinner at Somizi’s.
“When content is commissioned from producers, as in this case, MultiChoice obtains undertakings that all intellectual property rights in relation to the show have been cleared,” he says. “We reached out to Moeng a week ago to discuss the matter and we await his response. We are also engaging the show's producer. This claim will not impact on the airing of the remaining episodes of the show.”