‘Dinner at Somizi’s’ won't be dropped amid claims star 'stole' show idea

16 September 2020 - 12:00
Somizi Mhlongo's popular TV talk show has been marred in controversy.
Somizi Mhlongo's popular TV talk show has been marred in controversy.
Image: Supplied/DStv 1Magic

Despite being slammed with accusations of intellectual property theft, Somizi Mhlongo's reality talk show, Dinner at Somizi, will remain on air, MultiChoice confirmed to TshisaLIVE. 

The debacle came to light after an email apparently sent by creative Hastings Moeng to Somizi in 2014 went viral on Wednesday. The email allegedly outlined an idea for a series with the star that shared many of the same elements as the current 1Magic show

Carrying a Zulu equivalent of the current title, the proposal included hosting celebrity guests and approaching sponsors for the show.

MultiChoice spokesperson Benedict Maaga told TshisaLIVE it was aware of the allegations and had reached out to Hastings to discuss the matter.

“MultiChoice is aware of the allegations made by Hastings 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. We reached out to Mr Moeng a week ago to discuss the matter and we await his response. We are also engaging with the show's producer.”

Benedict said the broadcaster would still air the remaining episodes of the season.

“This claim will not impact on the airing of the remaining episodes,” he said.

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In a letter of demand to MultiChoice seen by TshisaLIVE, Somizi and the show’s producer, Nkululeko “Legend” Manqele, Hastings' legal team claimed the matter referred to the “unauthorised use of intellectual property”.

It outlined the email allegedly sent to Somizi in 2014 and claimed that in June 2015, a meeting was held between Hastings and Somizi where it was “agreed the idea was commercially viable and should be pursued”.

The letter further claimed that Hastings later reached out to Nkululeko to propose a meeting to discuss the show, but this did not materialise.

Hastings' lawyer, Mabu Marweshe, told TshisaLIVE  his client was now demanding a meeting with MultiChoice to discuss an acknowledgment that his intellectual property was being used without his consent, and a share of the show’s royalties going forward.

“I can confirm we represent Mr Hastings Moeng and issued a letter of demand to MultiChoice earlier this month. They have responded to the letter. We are in the process of drafting a final letter of demand and preparing to file court papers in the matter. We want to resolve this matter amicably.”

Several attempts by TshisaLIVE to contact Somizi and Nkululeko were unsuccessful at the time of publishing this article.

However, Nkululeko told Sowetan he was aware of the claims and was dealing with the matter through his legal team.