U K Christian actress, Seyi Omooba sues theatre after being fired over Facebook comments

A Christian actress is suing her former
agency and the theatre where she had a
starring role in the musical, The Colour
Purple , before being let go over Facebook
comments expressing a biblical view of
homosexuality.
On 14 March, Seyi Omooba was awarded
the lead role of Celie in Leicester Curve and
Birmingham Hippodrome’s co-production of
the play, based on Alice Walker’s classic
American novel.
A day after her casting was announced,
she was tagged on Twitter by
Hamilton actor Aaron Lee Lambert with a
screenshot of a Facebook post she had
written over four years ago on 18
September 2014 in which she said that she
did not believe people could be “born gay”
and that Christians should stand up for
what they believe in.
“Some Christians have completely
misconceived the issue of Homosexuality,
they have begun to twist the word of God,”
she wrote in the post.
“It is clearly evident in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
what the Bible says on this matter. 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.
“I do believe that everyone sins and falls
into temptation but it’s by the asking of
forgiveness, repentance and the grace of
God that we overcome and live how God
ordained us to. Which is that a man should
leave his father and mother and be joined
to his wife, and they shall become one
flesh. Genesis 2:24.
“God loves everyone, just because He
doesn’t agree with your decisions 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

God (Father) #Jesus Christ (Son) #HolySpirit.”


Mr Lambert, in his Twitter post, asked Miss
Omooba if she still stood by her previous
comments.
“@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,” he
wrote.
Miss Omooba, daughter of pastor Ade
Omooba, who was this year awarded an
MBE for voluntary service, has said she
does not agree with the interpretation of
Celie as a lesbian character.
Her Facebook post triggered a backlash
from other members of the performing arts
community, including Holby City actress
Amy Lennox, who said on Twitter that she
would boycott the show if a “bigot” was
part of the cast.
In a statement a few days later, the Curve
and Hippodrome issued a joint statement
saying that “following careful reflection” in
light of the “significant and widely
expressed concerns” over Miss Omooba’s
comments, she would no longer be
involved in the production.
She was later released from her talent
agency, having allegedly been told that
their confidence in her had been
“irretrievably eroded”.
Since the controversy broke out, Miss
Omooba says she fears she has been
blacklisted in the performing arts
community and has struggled to find acting
work.
The Christian Legal Centre, which is
representing Miss Omooba in her lawsuit,
said she had been told by one agency she
had approached that it would only work
with her if she came “to her senses on this
matter”.
The theatre has offered to pay Miss
Omooba the full wages she would have
received for playing in the performance but
she has rejected this offer and is asking
the Employment Tribunal for a formal
ruling that the theatre acted unlawfully and
discriminated against her because of her
Christian beliefs.
Commenting on her decision to go to
Employment Tribunal, Miss Omooba said
she felt as though she had to choose
between her career and her faith.
“When I received the email that I was going
to be dropped from the cast, I was
heartbroken. The theatre has offered me a
financial settlement, but I am not in this for
the money. For me it’s not about the
money or my face – it was about telling
and expressing Celie’s story, as I interpret it
as a performer, because that is what I love
to do,” she said.
“For me, Celie is a complex character. I do
not think it is possible to clearly define that
she is a ‘Christian’ or a ‘lesbian.’ Celie has
to grow up so fast, but in her mind she is
just a child trying to navigate through and
overcome the many trials and tribulations
that life throws at her.
“The people who know me, know that I
have no hatred as a result of my faith; only
love.Yet the theatre and the agency gave
me the choice of either losing my career or
renouncing my faith. I could not do this,
not even to save the career that means so
much to me.
“I want our society to be more open to both
sides of the debate and to accept that
many Christians do not believe homosexual
practice is right. Even though there are
differences in belief, we need to be more
loving to each other, we need to
understand each other’s struggles – that is
what my post in September 2014 was all
about. No one should be treated as I have
been because of expressing these beliefs.”
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the
Christian Legal Centre, said: “What
happened to Seyi Omooba was cruel and
has damaged the career of a highly
talented young artist for a Facebook post
she had made four years ago.
“Here you have a young Christian woman,
with what critics have described as having
a ‘ferocious’ talent, being sacked and
blacklisted for expressing what the Bible
says about homosexual practice, the need
for forgiveness and God’s love for all
humanity. This is another in a string of
cases involving Christians being hounded
out of their careers because they love
Jesus.
“The presence of a homosexuality theme in
the play is a very poor excuse for
discriminating against a Christian actress.
If we were talking about a lesbian actress
playing a Christian character, nobody
would dare to suggest that her sexual
lifestyle would make her unsuitable, and
that you could fire her without breaking the
law.
“This story sends a chilling message to
Christians, not only in the theatre
profession but across our society, that if
you express and hold mainstream Biblical
views, you will be punished and will lose
your career if you do not immediately
renounce your beliefs.
“This cannot go unchallenged and we are
determined to fight for justice in this case.”

Author: Fsharp

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