Christian actress fired over gay Facebook post to appeal

A Christian actress sacked over a 2014 Facebook post on homosexuality is to appeal after an employment tribunal sided with her former employers and agency. 

Seyi Omooba, 26, lost the lead role in a production of 'The Color Purple' at the Leicester Curve Theatre over the Facebook post in which she said she did not believe homosexuality to be right. 

In February, the employment tribunal said the theatre had acted lawfully in firing her. 

It was "the effect of the adverse publicity from [the 2014 post's] retweet, without modification or explanation, on the cohesion of the cast, the audience's reception, the reputation of the producers and 'the good standing and commercial success' of the production, that were the reasons why she was dismissed," the written judgment said.

In a further blow, the tribunal has awarded costs against Miss Omooba in excess of £350,000 to be paid to the theatre and agent. 

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which has been defending Miss Omooba, said the costs were "unheard of".

"An employment tribunal is meant to be a cost-free forum. For the other side to apply for and have granted a £350,000 costs order is unprecedented and deliberately punitive. It is designed to frighten and put off others from seeking justice," she said. 

"The costs they are asking for are 15 times more than the usual costs of defending a tribunal case, which is rather difficult to square with their premise that her case was so hopeless that it was unreasonable for her to pursue it."

Miss Omooba will also be appealing both decisions.

Ms Williams added, "Despite how the theatre and agency lawyers have tried to spin this case, it is undeniable that Seyi's claim raises difficult and important issues about the intolerance of Christian beliefs on human sexuality in today's society.

"Lawyers for the theatre and agency falsely insinuate a vexatious campaign by Christian Concern when all we have sought to do is serve Seyi and the truth.

"The Tribunal has effectively joined the campaign of 'cancelling' Seyi for her Christian beliefs. She and we are not intimidated and we have now lodged an appeal."