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‘Country Queen’ producers deny Netflix show was plagiarized

The Good Karma Fiction, a TV production company, has denied accusations that parts of their Netflix show, Country Queen, was plagiarized. In a statement dated October 7, 2022, the company said they are very respectful of intellectual property rights and they treat extreme seriousness any allegations of threats to the same.

The drama began when writer Paul Ogola claimed one of the show’s writers had plagiarized scenes from a script he had previously shown her and that he wasn’t credited for his work.

“Let me introduce you to my latest ordeal, between me and young lady who I thought was my friend, Oprah Oyugi, one of the writers of a Kenyan Series airing on Netflix Country Queen. In 2017, I wrote a political thriller script (inspired by true events after elections), one that started as a series but later I changed it into a feature film as the story of what inspired me had come to an end in my imagination,” Ogola said.

“I believed and still believe in this script as one of the best stories is yet to be told. That belief and passion for storytelling has sent me pitching to people and organisations that would be of interest so that we make this film together and just win together.

“In 2017, I shared my script via email with Oprah Oyugi so that we can keep building it together through a shared online celtx account (script writing software) as I was in Hollywood for acting master classes. I remember Oprah giving me a review after reading what I would call a ‘brain dump’ version of the script, she expressed her appreciation on what was happening in the script and suggesting further development, and exactly why I needed her in the ‘team’.

“However, we never did anything together and I ended up developing the script (1st and 2nd draft) alone. I still kept on pitching this story to producers and friends I believe are the best people to do something good with, including Oprah’s close friend in 2018, I mean so close!

“My saga begins in the year 2017, when Oprah joined the Good Karma Fiction, the production company that produced Country Queen – at the time she was retained as a writer on the show.

“Oprah as one of the writers in Country Queen’s writing room is expected to deliver designated scenes of an episode in the show as others write their section after workshoping the story. This is how the production wouldn’t be aware of where Oprah got her ‘ideas’ from, she was harmonizing my stuff to her assignment.

“Long story short, I have reached out to Oprah and she went quiet on me! I just wanted to understand why she couldn’t have asked me if she could borrow my stuff, pay me or at least just seek my consent and see if I can at least get some credit for it!

“I was angry and kept asking myself why others see it easy to just push me out of things I literally own a substantial percentage? Am I meant to end up just like the rest? To be swallowed by the beast of unprofessionalism, greed, bullying, con and dishonesty? Not me!” Ogola wrote on social media in part.

However, Good Karma have remained adamant that they could not find any plagiarism on their part after carrying out an investigation.

“We looked into his claims that parts of his 2017 script had been taken over in the Writers Room, hidden and without our knowledge, made its way into the Netflix hit show, Country Queen. We could not find any copyright-relevant parallelism between the two,” Good Karma said in a statement.

“We sought advise from copyright specialists and it was our collective assessment and opinion that there are very generic themes that are not unique or original to Paul Ogola or Good Karma Fiction; and we did not have any access to Paul’s scripts prior to, during the entire production period nor was there any substantial similarity between the two works,” the company added.

Good Karma further said they suffered untold damages to the reputation of everyone involved in the production of Country Queen since there was no open dialogue rooted in facts.