Actress fired for expressing biblical view of homosexuality sues for religious discrimination
A Christian actress who lost her lead role in the stage production of "The Color Purple" after expressing a biblical view on homosexuality is now planning to sue both the theatre and her former agents for religious discrimination.
In March, Seyi Omooba, 25, was given a starring role as Celie in a production of "The Color Purple," based on Alice Walker’s prize-winning novel, to be staged in Birmingham and Leicester, England. The character is seen by some readers as being gay; however, Omooba has said she does not agree with the interpretation of Celie as a lesbian character.
The London-based actress was dropped from the production after Aaron Lee Lambert, who stars in the West End production of the musical "Hamilton," unearthed a Facebook post Omooba wrote in September 2014, according to The Guardian.
In the post, Omooba urged Christians to “tell the truth” about homosexuality, writing: “It is clearly evident in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 what the Bible says on this matter. I do not believe you can be born gay and I do not believe homosexuality is right…”
"I do believe that everyone sins and falls into temptation but it's by the asking of forgiveness, repentance and the grace of God that we overcome and live how God ordained us to. Which is that a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24.
"God loves everyone, just because He doesn't agree with your decisions doesn't mean He doesn't love you. Christians we need to step up and love but also tell the truth of God's word,” she added. "I am tired of lukewarm Christianity, be inspired to stand up for what you believe and the truth…”
In his tweet, Lambert asked: “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.”
The following morning, Omooba received a phone call from her agent advising her to retract her comments and apologize for what she had said about homosexuality. However, she refused, citing her Christian faith.
“I really wanted the role but what they wanted me to do was completely against my faith. I did not want to lie just to keep a job,” she told The Mail Online.
A short time later, she was dropped from the starring role and dumped by her agents who said her comments had caused “significant and widely expressed concerns.”
Now, she’s taking both the Curve Theatre in Leicester and Global Artists to court for breach of contract and religious discrimination, according to the BBC. The Christian Legal Centre confirmed on Facebook they will back her case.
The daughter of a pastor, Omooba told the MailOnline she was shocked to discover some viewed her comments as homophobic and said she has struggled to find work since the incident. She explained in a Facebook video posted by Christian Concern that those responsible for casting her as Celie knew about her stance on God, marriage, and “many other things that are in the Bible.”
“I just quoted what the Bible says about homosexuality, the need for repentance, but ultimately God’s love for all humanity,” she said. “I stand by what I wrote, but had I known that it would have come to this, I would have set my account to the privacy mode.”
“I have support from actors that I’ve worked with, including those in same-sex relationships, who say that even though they don’t agree with my views, they know that I’m not hateful or malicious.”
Omooba said she is determined to fight for the right to express her religious views, adding, “I want to make sure no other Christian has to go through something like this.”
In a statement, Christian Legal Centre Chief Executive Andrea Williams said Omooba has been “sacked and blacklisted” simply for “expressing what the Bible says about homosexual practice, the need for forgiveness and God's love for all humanity.”
“This is another in a string of cases involving Christians being hounded out of their careers because they love Jesus,” she said. "The presence of a homosexuality theme in the play is a very poor excuse for discriminating against a Christian actress. If we were talking about a lesbian actress playing a Christian character, nobody would dare to suggest that her sexual lifestyle would make her unsuitable, and that you could fire her without breaking the law.
“This story sends a chilling message that if you express mainstream biblical views, you will be punished and lose your career if you do not immediately renounce your beliefs. This cannot go unchallenged and we are determined to fight for justice in this case.”