Daniel Whyte III Calls on “Christian” Oprah Winfrey to Pay the $350,000.00 Judgement Against a Young Black Christian Actress Who Was Fired From the Color Purple for Standing Against the Abomination of Sodomy/Homosexuality - Living Strong Television Network
Daniel Whyte III Calls on “Christian” Oprah Winfrey to Pay the $350,000.00 Judgement Against a Young Black Christian Actress Who Was Fired From the Color Purple for Standing Against the Abomination of Sodomy/Homosexuality


Daniel Whyte III Calls on “Christian” Oprah Winfrey to Pay the $350,000.00 Judgement Against a Young Black Christian Actress Who Was Fired From the Color Purple for Standing Against the Abomination of Sodomy/Homosexuality

Daniel Whyte III, President of Gospel Light Society International, Calls on “Christian” Oprah Winfrey to Pay the $350,000.00 Judgement Against a Young Black Christian Actress Who Was Fired From the Color Purple for Standing Against the Abomination of Sodomy/Homosexuality

Christian actress, 26, who sued theatre when she was axed from lead role over ‘homophobic’ Facebook post is facing £300,000 legal bill after losing five year discrimination battle

A Christian actress who sued a theatre after being axed from a lead role over a ‘homophobic’ Facebook post now faces a £300,000 legal bill after losing a five-year discrimination battle.

Seyi Omooba, 26, was dropped from playing lesbian character Celie in a 2019 production of The Color Purple after a social media storm over her views that homosexuality is a sin.

She took Leicester’s Curve Theatre and her former agents to an employment tribunal, claiming that she was the victim of religious discrimination.

However, her case was thrown out after she admitted that she hadn’t read the script before accepting the lead part.

Now, more than five years since the row erupted, she has lost an appeal as well – with a High Court Judge concluding that the initial judgement was correct.

Ms Omooba had said she did not know her character was gay and would not have gone through with appearing in the play once she became aware.

The actress has unsuccessfully appealed the tribunal’s original decision to reject her claim, including its ruling she must pay legal costs totalling more than £300,000.

Hamilton actor Aaron Lee Lambert tweeted a Facebook post written by Ms Omooba about homosexuality in 2014

In a newly published Employment Appeal Tribunal judgement, Mrs Justice Eady told how Ms Omooba was cast to play Celie in a stage production of The Color Purple – based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

Mrs Eady wrote: ‘Celie is seen as an iconic lesbian role and, when [Ms Omooba’s] casting was announced, a social media storm developed relating to a past Facebook post in which she had expressed her belief that homosexuality was a sin.

‘The consequences of that storm led to the termination of [her] contracts with the theatre and her agency. Arising out of those events, she brought Employment Tribunal claims of religion and belief discrimination and harassment, and breach of contract.

‘Shortly before the tribunal hearing, having only then read the script, [she] volunteered she would never in fact have played the part of Celie, and would have resigned from the role in due course.

‘She continued with her claims, but these were all dismissed and an award of costs made against her.’

The EAT heard Ms Omooba grew up in a committed Christian family of Nigerian origin.

Her father, Pastor Ade Omooba, is a co-founder of Christian Concern, an evangelical group supporting the rights of Christians.

On September 18, 2014, she posted on Facebook: ‘I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right, though the law of this land has made it legal doesn’t mean it’s right.

‘I do believe that everyone sins and falls into temptation but it’s by the asking of forgiveness, repentance and the grace of God that we overcome and live how God ordained us to, which is that a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.’

Early on in her career, Ms Omooba had explained to her agent that, as a Christian, she would not want to play certain parts and she had turned down an opportunity in Book Of Mormon due to its satirical depiction of Christian belief.

In December 2018 the Curve Theatre in Leicester offered her the lead role in a stage musical production of The Color Purple which she accepted.

The EAT observed that Ms Omooba was familiar with the 1985 film adaptation starring Whoopi Goldberg and directed by Steven Spielberg which had ‘played down the physical relationship’ between Celie and her female lover Shug.

In contrast, the stage show ‘carried more focus’ on their lesbianism, Mrs Eady said.

Ms Omooba had not ‘done her homework and had ‘thought of the work in the frame of the film’, the judge said of the original tribunal’s decision.

Her Facebook post about homosexuality was shared on Twitter on March 15, 2019, the day after the casting was announced, by Aaron Lee Lambert, an actor in the musical production Hamilton.

He asked: ‘Do you still stand by this post? Or are you happy to remain a hypocrite? Seeing as you’ve now been announced to be playing an LGBTQ character, I think you owe your LGBTQ peers an explanation. Immediately.’

This post created a ‘social media storm’, the EAT said, and Ms Omooba was invited by the theatre to renounce her Facebook post but refused.

She wrote in a statement: ‘The law protects my freedom of expression as well as freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Six days after the controversy was sparked, the theatre cancelled her appearance in the show.

In a letter informing her of the decision, Ms Omooba was told: ‘The lesbian relationship between Celie and Shug [is] an important part of the story, and that intimate scenes involving Celie and the actress playing Shug were intrinsic to the production.’

Her position was ‘untenable’ as it would ‘affect the harmony and cohesion of the cast, audience reception, the producers’ reputation and the good standing and commercial success of the production’, the letter added.

Ms Omooba began legal proceedings against the theatre and her agents – who had dropped her – in August 2019, supported by the organisations Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre.

However, by the time the case was heard in 2021, the actress admitted that she would never have played the role once she had actually read the script.

This revelation ‘detonated her own case’, the original tribunal said, leading them to reject her claims of religious discrimination, breach of contract and harassment.

It also told her to pay the full legal costs of the Leicester Theatre Trust and her former agents Michael Garrett Associates Ltd (Global Artists) for her ‘unreasonable’ conduct.

At the time of the 2021 tribunal they were put at £53,839 and £259,356 respectively but will be subject to further assessment.

At the EAT, Ms Omooba argued that both the tribunal’s dismissal of her case and the ordering of costs were wrong.

Mrs Justice Eady disagreed, however, saying she was in ‘repudiatory breach of her express obligations’.

The judge said: ‘[She] knew she would not play a lesbian character, but had not raised this with the theatre, or sought to inform herself as to the requirements of the role of Celie.

‘In making a costs award against [her], the tribunal had been entitled to reach the conclusion that her claims either had no reasonable prospect of success from the outset, or that they had no reasonable prospect once [she] realised that she would never in fact have played the role of Celie, or that the conduct of the claims had been unreasonable.’

Ms Omooba previously told the Mail on Sunday: ‘I just quoted what the Bible says about homosexuality, the need for repentance, but ultimately God’s love for all humanity.

I stand by what I wrote, but had I known that it would have come to this, I would have set my account to the privacy mode.’

The London-born actress trained at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and has appeared in the West End and at the National Theatre.

The Curve Theatre said in a statement when the claim was originally dismissed: ‘Seyi Omooba accepted a lesbian part in our production of The Colour Purple knowing full well she would refuse to play this iconic gay role as homosexual.

‘We believe the case had no merit from the outset and should never have been brought to the tribunal.

‘We now look forward to drawing a line under this painful chapter and focusing our energies on how we rebuild our theatre after the pandemic.’

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