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Is There A Real-Life Cookie Lyon Who Inspired ‘Empire’?

With great success comes a whole lot of people who want to take you down — and that goes for Empire as well. A former gangster named Sophia Eggleston claims that Empire‘s Cookie Lyon is based on her — and her autobiography The Hidden Hand. According to BET, Eggleston is currently suing co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong.

Real Life Cookie Lyon Who Inspired Empire?
Real Life Cookie Lyon Who Inspired Empire?

So why would Eggleston think she’s the inspiration for Cookie? Well, they seem to have certain things in common. According to the lawsuit, Eggleston was “running a drug ring” (like Cookie) and has a gay son (like Cookie), and she loves flashy fashion and boas (like Cookie). According to BET, Eggleston published her autobiography in 2009 and met with a screenwriter to adapt it in 2011. The writer said they would pitch the project to none other than Daniels.

“I certainly feel like she has a very good argument,” Eggleston’s attorney Tom Heed told the New York Post‘s Page Six. “What she believes is that the character of herself, especially before she went to prison, as it was expressed in the book ‘The Hidden Hand,’ was pretty much cribbed in total and that is now the character Cookie Lyon.”

Thus far, Daniels nor Strong have commented on the lawsuit.