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Actress Seyi Omooba, recently cast as the lead in a revival of The Color Purple musical, is facing criticism after another musical performer shared a picture of an anti-gay post she made in 2014.
Within a day of the cast announcement of the U.K. production, a member of the Hamilton cast, Aaron Lee Lambert, shared a screencap of a Facebook post from Omooba that she made in September 2014. In the post, she says that Christians “have begun to twist the word of God” in regards to homosexuality. “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 its [sic] right,” she wrote.
“Do you still stand by this post?” asked Lambert, tagging Omooba in his tweet. “Seeing as you’ve now been announced to be playing an LGBTQ character, I think you owe your LGBTQ peers an explanation.”
@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
People on Twitter began questioning how Omooba could have been cast to play Celie, a bisexual woman whose relationship with another woman is a major part of the story. Others questioned why she would even take the role, given her views.
I am so mad… We wouldn't accept someone with anti-Semitic rhetoric to play a character in Fiddler? This is disgusting. If she has moved past this then she must come out and retract and apologise, but if not then @CurveLeicester need to seriously question their casting.
— Sophie Feek (@sfeek94) March 15, 2019
Don't celebrate to soon. You can still get pulled and recast which is what alot of people including myself are going after. If the theater & casting director are smart, then they will recast your character. You have no right playing an LGBTQ character while being a homophobe.
— Justin Souza (@JustinSouza3) March 17, 2019
Your willing to play an lgbti character yet believe its wrong, how you can balance that escapes me, @CurveLeicester need to look again at your casting, using god to condemn the lgbt community then praising god for playing a gay role #hypocrite
— Brett Herriot (@BrettHerriot) March 15, 2019
Have u ever seen it? Have u read ur script? R u happy to be playing a lesbian? @Creativelectric This confuses me. Is she happy to be playing a lesbian character when she has openly omitted she believes homosexuality is wrong? The LGBTQ community is right to question this casting
— AbiStramash (@abi_esp) March 16, 2019
Some say that as the post was made five years ago, her views may have changed, but there’s evidence that is not the case. Some people pointed out her continued support of her father, Pastor Ade Omooba, who co-founded Christian Concern, a group that has continually advocated against LGBTQ civil rights since 2004, including advocating for gay “conversion therapy.” In addition, an actor who worked with her recently in a production of The Little Shop of Horrors said she refused to participate in making a video for Pride with the rest of the cast and crew because she “didn’t agree with it.”
— Julian Hoult (@JulianHoult) March 16, 2019
The Birmingham Hippodrome and Curve Leicester released a short statement saying Omooba’s views do not reflect theirs, and that they are doing a full investigation after which they will issue a full statement.
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H/T Pink News
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.