Earlier this week, two writers accused Idris Elba of plagiarism and discrimination. Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley claimed that Elba removed them from the production of his new play, Tree, after four years of work. They added they suffered from "intimidation and disrespect" during the time they worked with him. Elba refuted their claims on Twitter.
"We wanted to offer an opportunity to support these new writers while creating a piece of work and scale and to a director’s vision," Elba wrote. "Tori and Sarah decided they didn’t want to pursue the early thoughts and declined to work any further on the project. This is not uncommon in the development process. They expressed their reasoning and we respected their decision. We were left without any writers and had to start work very quickly, which is our contractual right as beholder of the original idea, the album."
Elba and director Kwame Kwei-Armah are credited as the creators of Tree, but both Allen-Martin and Henley have stated they deserve credit on the project, too. Both sides have agreed that Elba's Mi Mandela album from 2014 was the genesis of Tree, on which Allen-Martin collaborated with the actor, but Elba has argued that they ultimately went in a new direction after the two writers left Tree.
Both Allen-Martin and Henley are mentioned in the foreword of Tree, which premiered at Manchester International Festival on Thursday. Their post said that "moving the original writers off a project isn’t unusual and can be done professionally and amicably," but it allegedly wasn't the case in this instance. "The levels of intimidation and disrespect we faced were totally unacceptable, soul-destroying and as we’ve since heard—not uncommon for up and coming theatre writers, particularly female ones."
See Elba's response above and the accusation here.