British actor Seyi Omooba was ordered to pay more than £ 300,000 in legal costs after losing his discrimination claim against a British theater and its own performing arts agent.
Seyi Omooba was cast in a 2019 production ofThe color purpleat the Leicesters Curve Theater. After announcing that Omooba would be playing Celie in the production, actors who had worked with her in the past took to social media and highlighted comments previously made by stating that she doesn’t believe people were born homosexual and that homosexuality was bad despite it no longer criminalized.
Shortly after the items were highlighted, it was announced that Omooba would be exiting production. The actor subsequently sued the theater and its former agents Global Artists for 128,000 (AU $ 229,000) for religious discrimination and breach of contract.
The court, however, found that Omooba’s theater and agent had no cause to answer and ordered the actor to pay their costs, which totaled 259,356 for Curve’s bills and 53,839 for costs. from Global, for a total of 313,195. The cost is equivalent to 569,420 Australian dollars.
The play is based on the 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walkers. The novel was adapted into a 1985 Stephen Spielberg film starring Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey. The musical version premiered on Broadway in 2005 with music and lyrics by Allee Willis, Stephen Bray and Brenda Russell.
The actor admitted in court that she didn’t read the full screenplay when she signed up to play the part, but reportedly did when the rehearsal began.
Durng during the court hearing, it was revealed that the actor had previously told his agents that she would not play overtly sexual characters or take on homosexual roles. Lawyers for the venue argued that Omooba ultimately stepped down from the role, leaving the theater high and dry. Lawyers for the actors have in turn suggested that whether or not the character is a lesbian is open to interpretation.
The court heard that Omooba had refused a settlement of 4,309, which would have been his full salary for the contract. The actor claims that being asked to leave production has seriously damaged his career.
Omooba was represented by the legal arm of Christian Concern, an organization co-founded by his father, Pastor Ade Omooba MBE. The organization previously said the case would expose the censorship mechanisms at the heart of the theater industry, and showed that any dissenting opinion against LGBT ideology, especially Christian beliefs, is currently incompatible with a career in theater.
Andrea Williams, managing director of Christian Concern, described the costs of the theater and arts agencies in the deal as unacceptable.
“The costs they are asking are 15 times higher than the usual costs of defending a case in the Tribunal, which is quite difficult to reconcile with their assumption that her case was so hopeless that it was unreasonable for her to pursue it. They were so worried about it that they hired the most expensive law firms, a specialist QC, and a senior lawyer to defend what they are now trying to argue was a desperate case. Williams said on the group website.
Williams said the drama and talent agency ran a public relations campaign against Omooba that included “supporting the loud LGBTQ + movement and their allies, and hired aggressive heavyweight lawyers to attempt an assassination. very public figure in the witness stand.
Curve Theater is happy that the court decided to order Omooba to cover the costs of the case.
“We always felt the case lacked merit from the start, but Seyi Omooba and his legal team continued to disregard our pleadings and chose to take our theater to court regardless of the facts. ” the theater said in a statement.
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