Seyi Omooba to leave The Color Purple after row over ‘homophobic’ Facebook post
Seyi Omooba will no longer be part of the forthcoming tour of The Color Purple, producers behind the musical have confirmed.
Omooba was due to play the lead role of Celie, but questions were raised about her casting when a post she wrote on Facebook in 2014 surfaced last week, in which she claimed homosexuality was not “right”. The character she was to portray has a gay relationship.
Her post said: “I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right. [Even] though the law of this land has made it legal doesn’t mean it’s right.”
The post was met with widespread criticism, in which Omooba was condemned for having “the sheer audacity to publicly dehumanise the LGBTQI+ community and in the same breath grab hold of career opportunities given to you by these very people with both hands”.
LGBTQI+ community and in the same breath grab hold of career opportunities given to you by these very people with both hands. I don’t need you to “believe” in me and I deffo don’t need u to validate my love but I do need u to think about the damage this has done to so many around
— Hannah Morgan (@hannahaeiou) March 17, 2019
Actor Amy Lennox said she had been excited for the show but would no longer be buying a ticket as a result of Omooba’s casting.
“Unbelievable that someone in our industry (where our LGBTQ community is a fundamental presence/life force in our art) can have such an insular view on love,” she added.
Producers of the show, Curve in Leicester and the Birmingham Hippodrome, have now confirmed Omooba will no longer be involved in the production.
“On Friday 15 March a social media post dating from 2014, which was written by the The Color Purple cast member Seyi Omooba, was re-posted on Twitter. The comments made by Seyi in that post have caused significant and widely expressed concerns both on social media and in the wider press,” they said in a joint statement.
The statement added: “Following careful reflection it has been decided that Seyi will no longer be involved with the production. This decision was supported by the Authors and Theatrical Rights Worldwide.”
It has not been made clear whose decision it was for Omooba to leave the show.
In their statement, the producers said the audition process for the production “was conducted professionally and rigorously, led by an exceptional casting director with actors who are evaluated on what they present in the audition room”.
“We do not operate a social media screening process in the casting of actors,” they added.
The statement was signed by Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster on behalf of Curve, and Fiona Allan on behalf of Birmingham Hippodrome.
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