Theatre was within its rights to sack Christian actress over gay views, says court

An employment tribunal has sided with Leicester's Curve Theatre in a discrimination case brought by a Christian actress who was sacked over comments about homosexuality on Facebook. 

Seyi Omooba, 26, was suing the theatre and her former agents for £128,000 after she was dropped from the lead role of Celie in a production of The Color Purple. 

She was fired after a 2014 Facebook post resurfaced in which she said she did not believe that homosexuality was right or that people could be born gay.

Her contract with Global Artists was also terminated following the controversy.

She was offered her full salary for the role but refused the offer in order to bring a discrimination, breach of contract and harassment case against the theatre and agency. 

But the Central London Employment Tribunal, which heard the case virtually, concluded that the theatre was justified in firing her over the Facebook post. 

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. 

The court also rejected her claims of loss of earnings - Miss Omooba said she had been unable to find acting work since the controversy. 

"There is no financial loss because she would not have played the part," the panel said.

"There is no loss of opportunity to enhance her reputation by performing, because she would not have played the part.

"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."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, which supported Miss Omooba in her case, said she was "disappointed" by the verdict and that the actress was considering an appeal.