A question mark hangs over a future production of The Color Purple after a historic social media post by its lead actor surfaced, in which she said she did not believe homosexuality was “right”.
The actor also said she did not think people were born gay.
Producers Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome have said they are investigating the situation, and stated that the comments “do not in any way reflect the views of Curve or Birmingham Hippodrome”.
Last week, it was announced that Seyi Omooba would be starring in the forthcoming revival of The Color Purple as Celie, a character whose story includes a same-sex relationship.
Following Omooba’s casting, a Facebook post from 2014 resurfaced in which she 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.”
It goes on to say: “Christians, we need to step up and love but also tell the truth of God’s word. I am tired of lukewarm Christianity, be inspired to stand up for what you believe and the truth.”
The post was uploaded to Twitter by Hamilton actor Aaron Lee Lambert, who accused her of being a “hypocrite” and demanded she explain whether she stood by her views in light of her recent casting.
“Seeing as you’ve now been announced to be playing an LGBTQ character, I think you owe your LGBTQ peers an explanation. Immediately,” he said.
Widespread criticism followed, 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.
Omooba, who has previously appeared in the National Theatre’s Hadestown, Little Shop of Horrors at Regent’s Park and Spring Awakening at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre, is yet to comment on the post.
A joint statement from Curve – where the show is due to open on June 28 – and Birmingham Hippodrome said: “On Friday a social media post from 2014 by one of The Color Purple cast members was brought to our attention. The views shared in this post do not in any way reflect the views of Curve or Birmingham Hippodrome. We are continuing to investigate this and a full statement will be issued as a matter of priority.”