Well-known for his hosting role on PBS’s Reading Rainbow from 1986 to 2006, LeVar Burton is now being sued for trying to “reap the benefits” of the show, which belongs to a public broadcasting station in New York.
Reading Rainbow‘s current owner, WNED, filed a lawsuit against Burton claiming that the intellectual property rights of the show are being used illegally by Burton and his company, RRKidz.
WNED previously agreed to license the property of the show to Burton in 2011 for an online revival, but took away those rights in 2015 when Burton started a massive Kickstarter campaign for a Reading Rainbow revival without WNED’s approval or involvement.
WNED wrote in their issued complaint:
“As evidenced by Mr. Burton’s conduct since he began ‘teasing’ the public about the return of Reading Rainbow years before his company acquired any rights to do so, Mr. Burton’s goal is to control and reap the benefits of Reading Rainbow‘s substantial goodwill — goodwill that unquestionably belongs to WNED. Now that WNED has called their bluff and is prepared to take the RRKIDZ Action to trial, defendants have resorted to theft and extortion.”
According to People, Burton and RRKidz is being sued for a number of different lawsuits including copyright infringement, breach of contract, cybersquatting, and more.