'Color Purple' Actor Loses Role After Anti-LGBTQ Post Comes to Light

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday March 22, 2019

A British revival of the stage version of "The Color Purple" was set to star Oluwaseyi Omooba — who also goes by Seyi — until Facebook comments posted by the actor in 2014 came to light. Now the producers of the show say that Omooba is no longer associated with the upcoming production, which is slated to appear Leicester and Birmingham, Broadway World reported.

Remarks posted on September 18, 2014, to Omooba's Facebook page declared that LGBTQ-affirming Christians had "begun to twist the word of God," and went on to add, "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 doesn't mean it's right."

The remarks were re-posted in the form of a screenshot shared at Twitter by Aaron Lee Lambert, who called Omooba out on her remarks about LGBTQ people. Lambert currently appears on the London stage in "Hamilton," and is also known for his work in "Sister Act," among other shows.

In the stage version of "The Color Purple," as in novel from which it is adapted, main character Celie — the role Omooba was intended to take on — has a same-sex romance that unlocks her drive and confidence., giving her the wherewithal to escape an abusive marriage and become a successful businesswoman.

"Do you still stand by this post?" Lambert challenged Omooba in the March 15 tweet. "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."

UK newspaper The Guardian covered the story, quoting Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster as having announced that, "Following careful reflection, it has been decided that Seyi will no longer be involved with the production."

Added Stafford and Foster, "We do not operate a social media screening process in the casting of actors."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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