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Fired COLOR PURPLE Star Says She Didn't Know She Was Expected to Play a Lesbian Character

The tribunal has begun between Seyi Omooba and Leicester Curve.

Fired COLOR PURPLE Star Says She Didn't Know She Was Expected to Play a Lesbian Character

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, actress Oluwaseyi (Seyi) Omooba was removed from Leicester Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome's revival of musical The Color Purple after a fellow actor shared a screenshot of an anti-gay Facebook post from 2014. The post went viral, resulting in a social media outcry with many calling the actress homophobic.

In the post, Omooba said she did not believe people could be "born gay", and described homosexuality as a sin - "legal" but not "right". Omooba was removed from the production as a result.

Legal action by Omooba was previously set to begin last April, but was postponed due to the global health crisis. Now the tribunal against Curve in Leicester has begun on the grounds of religious discrimination and breach of contract.

According to the BBC, the actress revealed to the tribunal not only that she did not interpret the character of Celie as gay, but that she did not read the full script until days before the hearing.

"[Had I known] the play must be a play about lesbian love, and or that [they] wanted Celie to be portrayed as a lesbian character, I would have had to pull out"," she said. "I would explain my reasons to the director, but I would not make them public. Nobody's reputation would have been damaged as a result."

The tribunal is set to continue through the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, Curve is presenting The Color Purple - at Home - a fully reimagined concert version of the 2019 production, co-produced by Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome. Running later this month, the production is led by T'Shan Williams as Celie, with Danielle Fiamanya as Nettie, Karen Mavundukure as Sofia, Ako Mitchell as Mister and Simon Anthony Rhoden as Harpo.

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