Detroit barber in legal battle with LeBron James over idea for TV show

Sebastian Jackson suing James over barbershop show

DETROIT – A Detroit barber has a bone to pick with Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, and it has nothing to do with how he tore up the Detroit Pistons on the court this season.

A lawsuit filed by the barber centers around an idea for a television show and who came up with it first.

The Social Club Grooming Company is six years old and sits on the Wayne State University campus.

"We hire different," owner Sebastian Jackson said. "We cut hair different."

Jackson toiled there as a barber through school. The business failed, and he restarted it on his own. His difference was remaking the traditional barbershop.

"In this environment, we have black men, Italian men, white women," Jackson said.

They're all trained to cut every kind of hair. He's doing so well with the business that he's planning a second downtown location this year.

"This is the essence of Shop Talk," Jackson said.

It's a 50-video collection he's put on the internet that he calls "Shop Talk."

"We asked individuals like Dwella, Grammy Award-winning artists and others (if they would) be willing to share their stories with our community, and they agreed to that," Jackson said.

He started at his shop and took his show on the road with Shinola backing him, and that's where James comes in. Jackson's lawsuit claims Jackson met a woman within James' entertainment organization called "Uninterrupted Digital Ventures" about his show.

Before long, Jackson and his lawyer said James had his own barbershop video on YouTube with Michigan State University graduate Draymond Green, called "The Shop."

Attorney Michael Griffie said they asked James to stop, and he did, until last month. That's when they filed the lawsuit.

"They took that intellectual property as their own and produced it as their own original content, knowing full well that it came from Mr. Jackson," Griffie said.

Local 4 reached out to James' entertainment group, and we haven't heard back.

Coincidentally, James' team sued Alabama football coach Nick Saban for starting a similar show online.

About the Authors: