The Truth Behind Disney Allegedly Stealing Series

Media versus truth. For eons, humans have been hoodwinked into interpreting fact from fiction. Why – only the good Lord knows. Fact versus fiction happens daily, especially when consuming media. Sadly, fiction afflicted a writer some years ago, and the time has finally arrived to set the record straight.

DISNEY – We’ve all heard of this company that used to promote wholesome family entertainment. However, recently Disney has turned its focus to an agenda-driven entertainment juggernaut. Remember folks, what you see on television and in movie theaters, hear on the radio, and what you read about in the news is precisely what those who run those industries want you to know, think, feel, or adjust to their way of thinking.

About a decade ago, The Walt Disney Company released what was dubbed a “genius” smash hit television series titled, MR. YOUNG. The creator of the series was a staff writer for the Walt Disney company at the time. The media touted the writer, the “creator” of the Mr. Young series, and dubbed him a “genius” much like the principal character of the series.

Hollywood is run by agents and agencies, and there is one agency that rules it all: WME [William Morris Entertainment, formerly William Morris Endeavor]. Agents and agencies represent writers, actors, directors, singers, musicians, and major entertainment production companies.

In early 2009, nearly three years before the Mr. Young series first appeared on Disney XD, a young writer with a passion for wholesome storytelling, conceived and penned an original spec Disney-style tween series that had never been seen before. The young writer’s original idea sparked the creation of a pilot script, series show bible, and close to
70-episode outlines spanning a proposed 3 seasons. The writer’s series was titled, STUDENT TEACHER and featured the antics of a young “genius” who had such influence over peers that his schoolteacher asked him to teach class. The writer registered this original Student Teacher material with the Library of Congress and the Writer’s Guild of America in early 2009.

Around April 2009, the creator/writer of the Student Teacher concept was whisked into the WME offices located in Beverly Hills. There, a WME agent selected Student Teacher as a project he wished to promote and try to sell to a production company and television network. 

Months passed. The WME agent missed calls, didn’t return calls, and eventually over a span of time, told the writer – “Student Teacher is too smart for an American audience”. The young writer accepted the power agent’s final word and continued working on other projects.

Three years later, Mr. Young debuted on Disney, and the writer who created and wrote Student Teacher happened to see its premiere. To his surprise, Mr. Young was a near carbon-copy of his original Student Teacher series with too many similarities to ignore.

Upon investigation, the young writer discovered that the creator of Mr. Young was represented by the same agent/agency that had access to the entirety of his Student Teacher materials three years earlier. The registration and copyright for the original [Student Teacher] project was dated early 2009. The date of registration and copyright for Mr. Young was late 2010.

What ensued became an all-out legal battle. While Mr. Young was soaring to the top of the Disney kid’s series charts worldwide, the young writer was challenged to “get a lawyer” – which was not an easy accomplishment. However, and by the grace of the Lord, the writer found an attorney with a wealth of experience and a multi-million-dollar lawsuit began.

It was randomly reported by one news outlet and journalist on February 25th, 2014, that Disney had “beaten the writer’s claim” of plagiarism. Publisher of the article was THR [The Hollywood Reporter], part of PMC a company that publishes Variety, Rolling Stone, Deadline, Billboard and IndieWire. The THR article was not entirely true. What was carefully omitted from THR’s article is that the case of Student Teacher/Mr. Young was ongoing. The article misleadingly reported since the case was amid hearings. Disney had not “beaten” the writer as you will discover.

The Student Teacher/Mr. Young case was tried in both the International Trade Commission, and Superior Court. The International Trade Commission or [ITC] had never tried a case of television plagiarism, and therefore were not the most capable of assessing such matters. In Superior court, judges and the law system are more apt when discerning if a case of plagiarism contains validity. Several times during the lawsuit, superior court judges [who had assessed the case and its evidence] where asked to “dismiss” the case by defendants under the pretense there was no case for plagiarism. In response, superior court judges responded that the case not be thrown out and that the case would go to trail. This occurred during the summer of 2014, months after the misleading article was published by The Hollywood Reporter. 

The Student Teacher/Mr. Young case would continue after the THR article was published. The date for superior court was set for some time in early 2015. However, days before Christmas 2014, representatives for the defendants offered the creator of Student Teacher a settlement. 

After almost three years of a lawsuit and personal anguish the writer opted to settle, and the case was closed.
Robert Hadley
Robert Hadley
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