The saga of who the real creator of ‘Dinner at Somizi’s’ currently has no end.
The legal battle between Hastings Moeng, Somizi Mhlongo and production company of the cooking show BarLeader still has not reached a resolution.
According to Moeng, he had the idea of the show since 2014, posting emails and communication between Somizi and BarLeader production CEO and producer Legend Manqele.
There were numerous reports earlier this week that the talks of season two had been halted because of the intellectual property allegations.
Manqele has now responded in a lengthy statement on Friday denying that Hastings created the hit show. He said he had the original concept of the show during level 5 and 4 lockdowns, as a virtual cooking show hosted by Somizi and his husband Mohale Motaung-Mhlongo.
The TV producer said: “The show was named ‘Straight Out of The Kitchen’. With comedy and music shows going virtual, there was a clear need for this kind of show.” He explained that the original concept, the couple were going to host ordinary South Africans in their kitchen virtually via Zoom or Skype whilst having free and open conversations.
The guests would also be required to cook.
Manqele says Somizi actually wanted to launch his cooking show on YouTube but he convinced him to go through the TV route.
He says MultiChoice had been on board from the beginning for the virtual idea, but suggested changes of the format and change the name to Dinner at Somizi’s.
“After shooting three episodes of the cooking show, MultiChoice suggested more changes to be made to the format. A collection of emails which set out these chains of events…
“Simply, the idea of the show did not originate from Mr Hastings nor was there any theft or plagiarism of Mr Hastings idea. All allegations in this regard are patently false and are without merit,” he said.
Manqele admits he did meet Hastings eight year ago around the same time frame he alleged he created the idea.
Hastings emails are dated between July 2014 and 2016, they detail his concept of a cooking show, the business proposal and possible sponsors who would be a perfect fit.
Manqele says: “It is correct that Mr Hastings approached me at a gym approximately eight years ago, in the early stages of my business and told me about the idea that he had for a cooking show. I gave him my email address and asked him to email me. I do not recall ever receiving that email Mr Hastings refers to eight years ago. In fact, the evidence clearly shows that I never even opened the email from Mr Hastings.”
He added that they have held meetings with Moeng in an attempt to resolve the matter and to prove that the show’s concept was not stolen. Moeng sent out a letter of demands in November 2020, in which he says he wants his name recognised as the show’s creator and be compensated.
Read the full statement below: