Actress Seyi Omooba has lost her employment tribunal case alleging breach of contract and religious discrimination for her dismissal from a production of The Color Purple.
The performer launched a claim for £128,000 against Leicester Curve and her former agents Global Artists when she was dropped from playing the lead role of Celie in 2019 and the agency also said it would no longer represent her.
The dismissal was prompted by revelations of previous anti-gay comments on social media made several years earlier, in which the performer suggested homosexuality was “not right”.
Omooba, who was supported by the organisation Christian Concern and its subsidiary, the Christian Legal Centre, argued that she had been dropped on account of her religious beliefs.
But her claim of discrimination and breach of contract was dismissed after the theatre and the agency argued the dismissal was prompted by the negative effects of the publicity that her comments created.
Welcoming the decision, Curve chief executive Chris Stafford and artistic director Nikolai Foster criticised the performer for accepting the Celie role knowing she would oppose any portrayal of the character as homosexual.
In a joint statement the duo said:
“We are pleased Seyi Omooba’s claims against Curve have been rejected by an employment tribunal. Seyi Omooba accepted a lesbian part in our production of The Color 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.”
They asserted that Curve has been subject to “a carefully orchestrated campaign” using the tribunal process to claim to be exposing alleged “mechanisms of censorship at the heart of the theatre industry, and how any dissenting views against LGBT ideology, especially Christian beliefs, are currently incompatible with a theatrical career”.
— Curve (@CurveLeicester) February 17, 2021