The lead actress in an upcoming play about lesbian love has been dropped after she made allegedly homophobic remarks on social media.
Seyi Omooba was due to play bisexual Celie in The Color Purple at the Birmingham Hippodrome between July 16 and 20.
She was axed after comments she made on social media in 2014 came to light.
The venue said her post had caused “significant and widely expressed concerns” as it announced her departure.
Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome statement regarding The Color Purple pic.twitter.com/32J8whGQYu— Curve (@CurveLeicester) March 21, 2019
A joint statement from the theatres behind the production, Leicester’s Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome, said following “careful reflection” they had decided to remove Omooba from the cast.
It read: “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.
“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.
@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 (he/him) (@aleelambert) March 15, 2019
“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.”
The play, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, sees Omooba’s character fall in love with another woman.
Her comments resurfaced after Aaron Lee Lambert, who stars in the West End production of Hamilton, posted a screenshot of a Facebook post from September 2014.
The post, apparently from Omooba’s account, 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 doesn’t mean it’s right.”
Lambert challenged Omooba, writing: “Seeing as you’ve now been announced to be playing an LGBTQ character, I think you owe your LGBTQ peers an explanation.”
Omooba’s representatives have been contacted for comment.