Untangling the Drama Between Darren Star and the Real Emily in Paris

Emily in Paris creator Darren Star has been accused of improperly crediting one of his writers. Find out all of the drama, including how her real Parisian life allegedly inspired the series.

By Alyssa Ray Aug 03, 2021 5:24 PMTags
Watch: "Emily in Paris" Starts Production on Season 2

Sacré bleu! We did not expect this Emily in Paris drama.

Darren Star is facing controversy after one of his writers, author Deborah Copaken, alleged in her memoir Ladyparts that the TV legend never properly credited her for her work on the Netflix comedy. For the record, Star's team has since called this allegation "blatantly false."

In the just-released tome, Copaken claims that Star turned to her after he sold the initial show concept to the Paramount Network, which was Emily in Paris' home prior to moving to Netflix. Why turn to Copaken? Well, because she had previously worked as a consultant for the TV triple threat's show Younger. Not to mention, she had literally once been an American in Paris in her twenties, much like the titular role played by Lily Collins.

Per Copaken, Star, who she considered a good friend, paid her $5,000 and promised to give her a spot in the writers' room and her own script for the season. In an excerpt obtained by Entertainment Weekly, Copaken wrote of her feelings at the time, "He's a good enough friend that I trust he both knows what he's talking about and would never deliberately keep money out of my pocket or a credit off my résumé."

Everything We Know About Emily in Paris Season 2

Ultimately, Copaken says she didn't ask for a written contract as the opportunity was "too good to pass up."

As for her actual contributions to the series? The author highlights how her own connection with a chef friend in Paris helped shape the character Gabriel (played by Lucas Bravo). "Her downstairs French love interest, will grow out of Alex," she detailed. "An American friend of mine who worked as a chef at Taillevent when I lived in Paris and cooked dinner for a whole group of us expats every Sunday night."

Carole Bethuel/Netflix

According to the memoir, even Copaken's past in marketing came into play. "Her brand manifesto for Vaja-Jeune, a fictional French vaginal moisture ring, will be cut and pasted directly from the actual brand manifesto I wrote that first week in my PR job," she wrote. "Emily will rail against the idea of the French word for vagina—le vagin—being masculine, just as I had one of my characters do in The Red Book years earlier. This will give Emily her win at work and the pilot its ending when she tweets out, at my suggestion, 'Le vagin n'est pas masculine' ('The vagina is not masculine'), and Brigitte Macron retweets it."

Copaken says that, although Star did staff her for the writers' room, she never got the option to write her own script, adding, "I kept asking which episode I'd be writing. He kept telling me to be patient. Months passed. I remained both patient and scriptless."

Watch: Meet "Emily in Paris" Makeup Artist Aurelie Payen

Eventually, Copaken asked for a "story by" credit on the pilot since she never received her own script for the season. It's said that Star was unable to give her the story by credit she hoped for or a spot in the season two writers' room.

These days, Copaken is no longer seeking credit, even writing in her book, "Darren can keep Emily. I can no longer empathize with or write dialogue for a white woman selling luxury whiteness to other white people."

Inside the Closet of Emily in Paris

Regardless, Copaken's words have garnered quite the reaction from Star's camp, who told E! News, "Her claim is blatantly false has [sic] already been adjudicated by the WGA, who determined her claims had no merit."

Star's rep went onto call her claim "nonsensical" as "credits aren't for Darren Star to give (nor are they even for the studio or Netflix)—that's for the Guild to decide. And the Guild has spoken."

This drama has certainly distracted us from our waiting for season two to arrive. For more Emily in Paris news, click here.

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