Lee Daniels Paid $1.7 Million to Settle Damon Dash's Legal Battle over Richard Pryor Film

Ryan Naumann

"Empire" creator Lee Daniels agreed to pay over $1.7 million to settle the lawsuit brought by Damon Dash.

According to newly filed court documents obtained by The Blast, the terms of their 2018 settlement have finally been revealed.

Last year, Dash sued Daniels for $5 million, accusing him of breaching their contact over the Richard Pryor biopic they were planning to work on. He said Daniels was dragging him along without giving him details. Daniels never responded to the allegations of the lawsuit.

He did reach a confidential settlement with Dash in November 2018. The terms of the deal were confidential until now.

Per the settlement agreement, Daniels is paying Dash a total of $1,782,500 with installments. The first payment was to be paid in November 2018 and will be paid in full by January 2021.

Dash agreed to give up any co-executive producer credit on the Richard Pryor film and any backend percentage of the biopic. The $1.7 million will settle all claims against Daniels.


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Daniels made sure to include a provision prohibiting Dash from disparaging him publicly. The deal states, “Dash hereby agrees that he will not make any derogatory or disparaging statement(s) to anyone concerning any of the Daniels Defendants, at any time, the impact of which would materially damage the reputation of the other.”

It includes, “statements relating to the Defendants capability, integrity, honor, character, respect for black culture, skill, background intentions or financial conditions.”

Dash agreed to remove all social media posts talking badly about Daniels. He removed an Instagram post talking about the legal battle. He also had to remove video of Dash confronting Daniels at a Diana Ross concert.

The deal brought an end to the lawsuit brought by Dash.

Last year, Dash sued Daniels accusing him of breach of contract involving the Richard Pryor biopic they had both planned to work on. He claimed that a 2015 agreement made it clear that he would get a co-executive producing credit on the Pryor project, and also 5% of the profits that Daniels would eventually earn on the back end.

Dash said Daniels did not make an effort to fulfill his obligations and had been kept in the dark about the details of production and the progress of the film. He felt the alleged lack of communication and compliance on Daniels part fit the bill for a breach of contract.

The two eventually reached the confidential settlement.

Back in 2014, Dash first sued Daniels for $25 million over their dispute involving the ownership rights to ‘Precious’, ‘The Butler’ and the television show ‘Empire’. The music mogul claimed to have loaned the director $2 million in 2004, in exchange for rights to certain films. They reached a deal to settle in 2015, only for Dash to drag Daniels back to court years later.