LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 21: The cast of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Renee Lamb and Seyi Omooba (second from right) attend Magic Radio’s event ‘Magic At The Musicals’ held at Royal Albert Hall on May 21, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
The case of a Christian actress removed from a lead role in a playover a bible-citing Facebook post has gone to an employment tribunal in London.
With the support of the Christian Legal Centre Seyi Omooba, 26, is suing Leicester Curve Theatre and her former agent, Global Artists Agency, who dropped her after the controversy, for discrimination and breach of contract.
Omooba rejected Curve Theatre’s offer to pay her the wages she would have received for the performance. She has requested a formal and public ruling that the theatre acted unlawfully and discriminated against her for her Christian beliefs.
On 14th March 2019, the West End actress got the role of Celie in The Color Purple. She received the news on the day she accompanied father, an international Christian campaigner and a co-founder of Christian Concern, Ade Omooba to Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE.
An accomplished actress, she has appeared at the National Theatre in Hadestown, Little Shop of Horrors and Spring Awakening and at the Cadogan Hall production of The Color Purple.
After the cast was announced on 15th March, Miss Omooba was tagged in a tweet by another West End performer, not known to her, with a screenshot of a Facebook post she wrote in September 2014.
Aaron Lee Lambert, who stars in the West End production of hit musical Hamilton, calling her a “hypocrite” and questioning her suitability for the role of Celie (considered by some to be an LGBTQ character).
“@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.”
In 2014, following the introduction of same-sex marriage in the UK, Omooba posted remarks quoting numerous bible verses, in which she questioned the rightness of “homosexual practice”.
“Some Christians have completely misconceived the issue of Homosexuality, they have begun to twist the word of God,” she wrote.
The biblical standpoint is “clearly evident”, she said, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
“I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexual practice is right, though the law of this land has made it legal doesn’t mean it is right,” she continued.
She went on to say that “God loves everyone”. Regardless of their decisions, it “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. I am tired of lukewarm Christianity, be inspired to stand up for what you believe and the truth #our God is three in one,” she concluded.
After the post was brought to public attention calls came for Omooba to be dropped from the cast. She has been the subject of much online abuse and harassment, which include being called the n-word.
On the same day that the post came to light, Global Artists called Omooba. They told her that as public pressure mounted, she must retract her comments and publicly apologise to keep the role. She refused.
On 21st March, Leicester Curve Theatre and the Birmingham Hippodrome released a statement announcing that Omooba’s contract had been terminated.
“The play and production are seeking to promote freedom and independence and to challenge views, including the view that homosexuality is a sin,” it said.
When the Catholic Herald news desk contacted Curve Theatre’s press team for further comment yesterday, they sent a statement from the Chief Executive Chris Stafford.
“We can confirm an employment tribunal is currently taking place. We continue to dispute all claims made by Seyi Omooba against our theatre and no further comment will be made at this time.”