An actress set to star in The Color Purple has been dropped over anti-gay comments.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Seyi Omooba would be playing lead role Celie, a queer character, in a production of The Color People at Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome later this year.
But shortly after the casting reveal, anti-gay comments made by Seyi on her Facebook account in 2014 emerged, where she implied that being gay is a choice and said: “I do not believe that homosexuality is 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
A week later, following intense backlash on social media, Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome have released a joint statement announcing that Seyi has been removed from the production.
“On Friday 15 March a social media post dating from 2014, which was written by the The Color Purple cast member Seyi Omooba, was re-posted on Twitter,” they wrote.
“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.”
They also explained that they do not screen social media profiles when casting actors.
“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.”
Seyi has not yet addressed her past comments.