A “homophobic” Christian actress who was replaced as the lead in a production of ‘The Color Purple’ is set to sue the theatre and her former agency.
Seyi Omooba will take the Curve Theatre and Global Artists to court for breach of contract and religious discrimination.
The 25-year-old was dropped after Hamilton actor Aaron Lee Lambert shared a Facebook post she had written in September 2014.
In the offending post, Ms Omooba wrote that christians should “tell the truth” about homosexuality.
“It is clearly evident in I Corinthians vi, 9-11 what the Bible says on this matter. I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexual practice is right,” she wrote.
In March the actress was given the starring role as Celie, who is normally portrayed as having a gay relationship, in the play to be staged in Birmingham and Leicester.
Mr Lambert tweeted: “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.”
The post was widely criticised, prompting Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome to confirm that Ms Omooba would no longer be performing in the show, which went on to tour in July.
@Seyiomooba 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. pic.twitter.com/GK2xbzZYgy— Aaron Lee Lambert (@aleelambert) March 15, 2019
Ms Omooba, who denies that Celie is a lesbian, said the theatre and her agents told her to apologise but she refused.
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The Christian Legal Centre, who are representing Ms Omooba, claimed Curve had offered to pay Ms Omooba’s full wages to avert a lawsuit, but said she rejected the offer.
She is now seeking an employment tribunal ruling, arguing that “the theatre has acted unlawfully and discriminated against her because of her Christian beliefs”.
According to a statement obtained by the Stage newspaper, Ms Omooba said she had received online abuse following the events earlier this year, and had been turned down for the theatre work she has applied for since.
She said: “The people who know me know that I have no hatred as a result of my faith, only love. Yet the theatre and the agency gave me the choice of either losing my career or renouncing my faith. I could not do this, not even to save the career that means so much to me.
“I want our society to be more open to both sides of the debate and to accept that many Christians do not believe homosexual practice is right. Even though there are differences in belief, we need to be more loving to each other, we need to understand each other’s struggles – that is what my post in September 2014 was all about.
“No one should be treated as I have been because of expressing these beliefs.”
The Curve said it had not had notice of legal action and stood by its statement with the Birmingham Hippodrome that said “significant” concerns about Ms Omooba’s post led to the decision to drop her. Global Artists declined to comment.