Last week an actress got sacked – not once but twice.
On the surface, her beliefs.
Seyi Omooba was the actor, who was due to perform at the Birmingham Hippodrome as Celie in Color Purple.
Those that know the book and the play know that Celie is an iconic character who escapes the abominable abuse she has suffered through a relationship with another woman. Celie has a gay relationship but Seyi is a committed Christian.
Outed by an actor from Hamilton, Aaron Lee, Omooba was found in a tweet in 2014 to have said that homosexuality “wasn’t right”. She continued: “I do not believe homosexuality is right, though the law of this land has made it legal doesn’t mean its [sic] right.”
Now let me be clear. I have a gay son and a daughter who aint straight. I abhor the views she has.
To add to this, my son, acted with Omooba in 2017. They got on really well and he went to visit her in London when she was in the award-winning Little Shop of Horrors.
There was no horror expressed outside the theatre between them.
Due to being outed she suffered, in silence, a Twitter storm.
What was to be her punishment for what she believed in?
On the surface, whilst the Twitter furore was about her tweet, this was not about her views BUT how she found herself in a character role where she would have to put them to one side.
It became, rightly, about what she had said or done to get the role.
For a while we heard nothing from her; we still have not hear from her at all.
We have, however, heard from those around her as they sought to distance themselves from what they clearly saw as a toxic actor.
Firstly, she was removed from the production. Tellingly the companies behind the production said in a statement, “The audition process, as ever, 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.”
I thought, why don’t you check their social media – every other employer seems to and secondly this was clearly saying to anyone wishing to sue – don’t bother.
Suing anyone was gone when Omooba’s agent dropped her too.
Her career, once so promising, appears to be over.
Whilst I do not share her views and believe them wrong, the idea of a punishment is to fit a crime? Has she done enough to be blamed, lose her job, lose her access to a career and become a creative pariah? Of the former, yes of the latter, I am less sure…