Curve’s victory in Seyi Omooba court case is a victory for theatre

OUR economy is in the toilet, Britain’s hospitality industry is ruined and theatres are closed across the country, indefinitely.

In better news, Seyi Omooba – who was sacked over a Facebook post attacking homosexuality – has had her claim for discrimination, breach of contract and harassment rejected.

Omooba, 26, sued Leicester’s Curve Theatre and her former agents for £128,000 after being dropped from a stage performance of The Color Purple. She had been due to play the lead character Celie, a character in a lesbian relationship.

Today, though, Omooba lost the bone-brained employment tribunal against Curve and Global Artists. It has been a long time coming.

Turns out the performer was initially pursuing £128,000 in compensation from both parties, but revised her financial claim ahead of the final day of the hearing to a claim worth £71,400.

Compensation that, for reasons of stupidity and prejudice, aren’t ever going to come Seyi or her father’s way.

The panel also rejected Ms Omooba’s demands for compensation for loss of earnings, future losses and reputational damage as a result of her agency contract being terminated.

“There is no financial loss because she would not have played the part,” it said.

“If there is damage to her reputation, it was not caused by being dropped from the production but by an unconnected person’s tweeting… of her Facebook post and the outcry resulting from that.”

Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster said in a statement today: “Unfortunately, we consider that Curve has been subject to a carefully orchestrated campaign from Seyi Omooba and Christian Concern, who have used the tribunal process – and our theatre – as an opportunity to further their case.”

“Our fight was in the name of Curve, but also to protect the integrity of the character of Celie – who was based on Alice’s grandmother Rachel- and all other Celies in our world,” they added.

It was the height of madness to contemplate this going her way. Omooba’s case had been supported by the legal arm of Christian Concern, a wing-nut organisation co-founded by her father, pastor Ade Omooba MBE. Curve were always shooting fish in a barrel with this lot, obviously.

Somewhere in the middle of this rainbow chase, however, we did discover Omooba kept her “red line” of not playing gay characters “secret” from directors. She also denied that appearing in a concert production the show in 2017 meant she was aware of the lesbian storyline in the show. God.

Christopher Milsom QC, representing Global Artists, described Omooba as “the author of her own misfortune.”

Of course, it is reassuring that Omooba lost.

Try to think of the positives though, and the knock-on effect of this victory for Curve; a line has been drawn and and the outcome has set a legal precedent.

Admittedly, the crumb of comfort here is that we can only hope that the courts never entertain such a case again.

The Color Purple – At Home streams until 7 March