Leicester Mercury

Homophobia case actress to appeal tribunal defeat

- By TOM MACK thomas.mack@reachplc.com @T0Mmack

AN actress sacked from her role as a lesbian character in a musical over an anti-gay Facebook post will appeal against an employment tribunal ruling.

Seyi Omooba, 26, brought a case for about £128,000 against Curve theatre trust and her former agents after being dropped as the lead character in a production of The Color Purple in 2019.

Her claims of discrimina­tion, harassment and breach of contract were rejected by the Central London Employment Tribunal panel in February.

The panel dismissed her argument that her sacking by the Leicester Theatre Trust and talent agency Global Artists was due to discrimina­tion against her religious beliefs.

The Christian Legal Centre, a group supporting Ms Omooba’s claim, confirmed she would appeal against the ruling.

Ms Omooba was removed from her lead role as Celie after a Facebook post from 2014 in which she said: “I do not believe you can be born gay and I do not believe homosexual­ity is right. Though the law of this land has made it legal it doesn’t make it right.”

Curve offered her full pay but she rejected the offer and took legal action instead.

The tribunal panel said the dismissal was due to “the effect of the adverse publicity from (the post’s) retweet, without modificati­on or explanatio­n, on the cohesion of the cast, the audience’s reception, the reputation of the producers and ‘the good standing and commercial success’ of the production”.

The tribunal panel also rejected her demands for compensati­on for loss of earnings, future losses and reputation­al damage as a result of her agency contract being terminated.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “The tribunal ruled the theatre and agency had acted for commercial reasons rather than because they


intended to discrimina­te. The judgement ignores the distinctio­n, wellknown in discrimina­tion law, between the discrimina­tory act and the discrimina­tor’s motives.

“The motives may be entirely benign but that is no defence. The tribunal has effectivel­y joined the campaign of ‘cancelling’ Seyi for her Christian beliefs.

“She and we are not intimidate­d and we have now lodged an appeal.”

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