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Theater critic backs Christian actress fired for beliefs

THE DAILY REFORMER (NEW YORK, UNITED STATES)

A prominent British theater critic has announced his support for a Christian actress who was fired from a London production and dropped by her agency because she believes homosexual behavior is immoral.

The critic, Lloyd Evans, has written in support of actress Seyi Omooba, who was dropped by a London West End theater when someone reported her for a 2014 Facebook post, said the British charity Christian Concern.

Evans submitted an expert report in Omooba’s lawsuit challenging her dismissal.

“It is not of any importance for an actor to agree with the ethical views or the feelings of a character in a play,” he wrote. “Were that necessary, the art of drama would not exist, and many of the plays we regard as classics would be impossible to stage.”

The actress also received support from Martin Parsons, a prominent theologian, who said Omooba’s Facebook statement was “a fair and reasonable expression of Christian beliefs, as those beliefs have historically been held by the overwhelming majority of the Christian church throughout history.”

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The judge in the case, however, handled ordered the statements by Evans and Parsons to be excluded from the case.

WND reported Omooba was blacklisted by the theater industry in London in an action that sent a “chilling” message to members of the faith, according to Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Center.

The message, said Williams, is 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.”

Omooba, 25, had won a lead role as Celie a production of “The Color Purple” by Leicester Curve Theatre and the Birmingham Hippodrome. It came after a review of her debut in the West End musical “Ragtime” described her as “jaw-droppingly good, and her ferocious gospel vocals … pin you to your seat. This is her professional debut, and she’s someone to watch.'”

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It was at that time that Omooba, responding to a question, wrote on Facebook along with a Bible verse: “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.”

The character she was to play in “The Color Purple” is considered lesbian by some, but actress Whoopi Goldberg, who was in the movie version, said the production “has nothing to do with lesbianism.”

Movie director Steven Spielberg had a similar view.

CLC said Omooba was notified by her agency, Global Artists, that she would be dismissed from the production unless she renounced her Christian beliefs about homosexuality. She refused.

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Leicester Curve Theatre and the Birmingham Hippodrome then released a statement confirming she was fired.

She’s now suing Leicester Curve Theatre and Global Artists Agency, and a trial, delayed because of COVID-19, is scheduled for next February.

Omooba has appealed to the Appeal Tribunal against the refusal of and employment judge to hold the trial using an online platform such as Skype for Business, despite hundreds of similar hearings taking place on the format during the pandemic.

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