Former “Young and the Restless” soap opera star Victoria Rowell (pictured) is reportedly suing Sony and CBS Television for not rehiring her, saying it was a retaliatory move for her advocating for blacks in front of and behind the camera, according to court documents obtained by the New York Daily News.
The 55-year-old actress, who first landed her “Y&R” gig back in 1990 became increasingly dissatisfied with the way in which blacks are treated in soaps. According to Rowell, there aren’t enough African-Americans working in her industry. And when she bellyached about it, the powers that be pulled the plug on her character in 2007. Rowell, however, claims she exited the show because she constantly was on the losing end of the alleged constant behind-the-scenes racist politics that drained her.
Rowell claims in the Manhattan federal court filed lawsuit that she has been trying to get back onto Young & Restless or onto The Bold and the Beautiful since 2010. She alleges that her attempts to join one of the two sister soaps has been denied by those hiring at Bell-Phillip Television Production, Inc. and Sony.
She also alleges that the CBS CEO is in control and has put the kibosh her re-hiring. “Ms. Rowell has been blacklisted from even being considered for roles on daytime television and on any CBS programming, not because of any acting deficiencies or viewers’ desires, but because of retaliation for her advocacy for African-Americans in front of and behind the camera,” the documents state, according to the New York Daily News.
In the court papers, Rowell spills all the tea about the discriminatory behaviors she had to endure throughout her 17-year stint at “Y&R.” Rowell claims she had to pay for a black hair stylist out of her own pockets because the company would not foot the bill.
Blacks on the set were treated like second class citizens. “White actors and actresses treated Ms. Rowell and the stylist with impunity, and told Ms. Rowell that her hair ‘smelled,’” according to documents obtained by the Daily News. Rowell points the finger at actress Melody Thomas Scott who sported an oversized afro wig on set as a form of mockery, and actress Michelle Stafford spitting on the her, referring to her as a “freak” and screaming, “No one here likes you!”
In 2011, Rowell wrote a series of novels about all of the frustrating ins and outs of her business with regards to the treatment of African-Americans. The lack of blacks in decision-making positions also catapulted Rowell to engage in an hours-long tweet tirade last year against her former soap that coincidentally coincided with the show’s 41st anniversary.
Meanwhile CBS offered a response to the Rowell suit which they have referred to as bogus according to the New York Daily News:
“We were disappointed to learn that, after leaving the cast of ‘The Young and the Restless’ on her own initiative, Ms. Rowell has attempted to rewrite that history through lawyers’ letters and a lawsuit that has no merit,” the spokeswoman said. “We harbor no ill will toward Ms. Rowell, but we will vigorously defend this case.”
Rowell seeks damages, back pay and front pay to be determined at trial.