A new lawsuit alleges that Beyoncé made Lemonade from other peoples’ lemons. Matthew Fulks, an independent filmmaker and creative director at a news station, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the trailer for the pop superstar’s Lemonade copies aspects of his short film Palinoia without his permission. Additionally, Fulks alleges that, after being contacted about the opportunity to direct a video for a Columbia-signed music group, links to his film were sent to a group of people who included Bryan Younce, who was credited on Beyoncé’s 2013 concept album. The lawsuit claims that in July 2015 Younce requested Fulks’s email, then later acknowledged that he had received his “info” and offered up an invitation to submit a treatment to Columbia. Lemonade started filming five months later.
Fulks’s lawsuit claims that the Lemonade trailer is “substantially similar” to Palinoia and cites visual similarities in the use of “graffiti and persons with heads down,” “red persons with eyes obscured,” a “parking garage,” a “stairwell,” “black and white eyes,” “title card screens,” “the grass scene,” “feet on the street,” “side-lit ominous figures,” as well as similarities in “auditory time.” The suit targets Sony Music, Columbia Recording, and Parkwood Entertainment and seeks all profits attributed to the exploitation of Fulks’s work, including sales of Lemonade. Beyoncé’s team hasn’t yet commented on the matter.