Spike Lee Says Bill Cosby Stole ‘School Daze’ Premise for ‘A Different World’

Spike Lee and Bill Cosby (Credit: Shutterstock)

Spike Lee has accused Bill Cosby of ripping off the premise for his groundbreaking film School Daze.

Lee recently posted a tweet saying the incarcerated comedian “jacked” the idea for the 1988 movie and turned it into the hit TV series A Different World. Both projects are based on student life at historically black colleges and universities.

“And For Record. SCHOOL DAZE Was Shot Before DIFFERENT WORLD. Robbi Reed Cast Both. Bill Cosby Jacked Us. #FACT,” Lee tweeted.


The Oscar-winning writer and director made the allegation as School Daze began streaming on Netflix, and he live tweeted details about the film.

Lee didn’t elaborate on his claim. Although he did say the film had a different title when he wrote it. “The Original Title Was IT’S HOMECOMING. #schooldazeonnetflix,” he tweeted.


School Daze arrived in theaters in February 1988. A Different World premiered in September 1987, but Lee said the film was shot before A Different World launched on NBC.

Lee wrote and directed School Daze based on his experiences as an undergrad at Morehouse College. The movie explored issues such as pledging in black fraternities and sororities and colorism in the black community. It starred Tisha Campbell, Laurence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, Kyme and Lee.

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A spin-off of The Cosby Show, A Different World centered on a group of students at the fictional Hillman College. The ensemble cast included Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Lisa Bonet, Dawnn Lewis, Marisa Tomei, Darryl M. Bell, Charnele Brown, Lou Myers, Glynn Turman and Sinbad.

Cosby created and executive produced A Different World, which followed Denise Huxtable’s (Lisa Bonet) life at Hillman.

Cosby, or someone on his team, has remained active on Instagram since he was sentenced in September 2018 to three to 10 years in state prison for sexual assault. So far, there’s been no reaction to Lee’s allegation.