Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Former 'The Young and the Restless' Actress Victoria Rowell To File Complaint in Federal Court Against CBS, Sony Pictures Claiming Denied Re-Employment

Victoria Rowell
Former The Young and the Restless star Victoria Rowell is filing a complaint in federal court against CBS, Sony Pictures Television and other defendants claiming that she was denied re-employment on the highest rated daytime soap opera in the country in retaliation for her public and private complaints regarding the lack of diversity in front of and behind the camera on the show. The lawsuit was announced on Wednesday morning in a press release sent to the media along with an invitation to attend a press conference on Thursday, February 12 at 11 a.m. ET.

Rowell became the "first African American female with a leading role on The Young and the Restless in 1990" when she brought to life the role of Drucilla Barber Winters. She "reluctantly left the show in 2007 after facing years of racial discrimination" that are described in the complaint. During her tenure she won eleven NAACP Image Awards and received two Daytime Emmy Award nominations.

Starting in 2010 and continuing to date, Rowell has sought to return to the show or to its sister soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Her "attempts to re-join have been denied by those in charge of hiring at Sony and at Bell-Phillip Television Production Inc., with CBS's CEO allegedly pulling their strings."

Rowell claims the defendants rejected her re-employment in retaliation for Rowell's public advocacy to increase the presence of African-Americans in daytime soap operas in general and on The Young and the Restless in particular. The complaint alleges that defendants have rejected her even though African American women, who comprise a huge percentage of the viewership for The Young and the Restless and for daytime soap operas in general, have clamored for Rowell's return and rejected all of the defendants’ efforts to replace her on the show over the years.

Washington, DC-based law firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, along with New York City-based counsel Valli Kane and Vagnini LLP and California-based law firm, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP, represent Rowell in this new case.

UPDATE:
CBS has released the following statement:  “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. We harbor no ill will toward Ms. Rowell, but we will vigorously defend this case.”

3 comments:

  1. Tonya Williams (Olivia) was the first AA female lead on Y&R--not Victoria Rowell.

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    1. Good point. That is part of the claim and "leading" might be the key word there, although they joined the show around the same time and Tonya Lee Williams was just as leading as Victoria Rowell at first. Drucilla went on to become an iconic character in the show's history. In the 1980s, Stephanie Williams starred as Amy Lewis in a contract role.

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  2. I remember Amy. Daughter of Detective Lewis.

    Rowell's belated lawsuit has no merit. It just reeks of desperation and some kind of mental illness.

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