The dystopian Odyssey of Seyi Omooba

Apr 1, 2021 by

by Andrea Williams, Christian Concern:

For her first three years after university, Seyi Omooba was a rising star of the musical theatre. Her professional debut in a West End musical was described by reviewers as “jaw-droppingly good,” with “ferocious gospel vocals” which “pin you to your seat.” She was “someone to watch.”

Three years on, in March 2019, Leicester Curve Theatre was proud to announce the cast for its production of The Colour Purple musical with Seyi in the lead role: “an actress of immense power and she leads a formidable ensemble of astonishing talent; they are set to blow the roof off Leicester.”

Only a week later, Curve tore up its contract with her. Seyi’s own agent followed its example a few days after, and all theatrical doors were henceforward slammed to her face. For them, it seemed to matter not that her destiny now was to sit alone in her room and ponder just how seriously she should take the latest death threat.

The reason? Her Christian beliefs about human sexuality – which became known from a 4-year-old Facebook post she wrote as a 20-year-old student, now uncovered by an industrious heckler.

The Employment Tribunal has now given its stamp of official approval to everything the Theatre and the Agency have done to Seyi. Moreover, the Tribunal has concluded it was unreasonable for her even to complain, and on that basis, ordered her to pay the full legal costs incurred by her opponents – estimated to be an extraordinary £350,000. The Employment Tribunal is meant to be a costs free forum – each side bears its own costs.

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. They were so concerned about it that they hired the most expensive solicitor firms, a specialist QC and senior counsel to defend what they now try to make out was a hopeless case.

The Tribunal joined in for good measure.

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