Past homophobic statements by actress Seyi Omooba, who was recently announced to star in an upcoming UK production of the musical The Color Purple, have led to her dismissal from the production.
After the announcement of her casting in the role of “Miss Celie” in the production, actor Aaron Lee Lambert (currently appearing in the UK production of Hamilton) posted a screen capture of a 2014 Facebook post by Omooba which read, in part:
“I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right, that the law of this land has made it legal doesn’t mean its right.”
@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
In tweeting the post, Lambert asked the actress, “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.”
In The Color Purple, the character of “Miss Celie” – a woman abused by her husband – finds happiness in the revelation of falling in love with another woman.
The discovery of the social media post by Omooba incensed LGBTQ activists who cherish the role’s uplifting story and strength.
Another actor, Julian Hoult, who appeared with Omooba in a recent production of Little Shop of Horrors, shared on his social media that he was not surprised by the anti-LGBTQ sentiment from the actress after she was the lone cast member to decline to appear in a Pride video (“she didn’t agree with it”) with the Little Shop cast.
The producers of the production have now issued a statement announcing the role of “Miss Celie” will be recast:
On Friday 15 March, a social media post dating from 2014, which was written by 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. 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. 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.
Omooba has not issued any comment, nor has there been an announcement about her replacement.