‘I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death my right to silence you.’ Another case of LGBT persecution of its opponents

High-profile discrimination cases in the courts are regularly said to demonstrate the degree of intolerance and bigotry that still infest Britain today, and the need to take steps to do something about it. An employment tribunal case last week is a case in point, but perhaps not in the way you might expect. 

In January 2019 Seyi Omooba, a hitherto modestly successful but still struggling Nigerian actress, was signed up by Leicester’s Curve Theatre. The production was an adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, taking place at the Curve and then subsequently at the Birmingham Hippodrome. She was to play Celie, a character with notoriously lesbian overtones.

The day after the casting was announced, an actor with no connection with the production sprang a revelation on Twitter. About five years earlier Miss Omooba had made it clear in a Facebook post that she regarded homosexuality as being forbidden by Biblical teaching and morally unacceptable. “Do you still stand by this post?” he thundered: “Or are you happy to remain a hypocrite? Seeing as you’ve now been announced to be playing an LGBTQ character, I think you owe your LGBTQ peers an explanation. Immediate.”

All hell broke loose. The Curve asked Miss Omooba whether this five-year-old pronouncement still represented her belief. She replied, honestly and in conscience, that it did. A week later the theatre sacked her (though it did offer to pay her wages), on the basis that any performance with her in it would face boos and protests from the audience and LGBT protesters and be “untenable”.

Two days after that happened, her agency also dropped her like a hot potato. Its director took the view that she was bad for its image and that its employees would not want to work with someone with views “offensive to the LGBTQ+ community and beyond”.

The result was that, having previously had a promising acting career, Miss Omooba’s prospects of future work were now at best highly stunted. She sued both the theatre and the agency for breach of contract and religious discrimination. Her claim failed. There is no need to bore readers with the legal technicalities. Suffice it to say, however, that there were some interesting features.

Non-lawyers might detect a whiff of casuistry at the finding that she had been sacked not because of her religious views but because of others’ dislike of, and refusal to work with her because of, those same views. Furthermore, it might have been tactful had the members of the tribunal not actually said that they personally found her opinions offensive and distasteful, on the tendentious basis that they denied “the foundation of another person’s integrity and identity.”

It is also noteworthy that they also added that anything going beyond expressing views as to the sinfulness of same-sex relations, such as approving of conversion therapy, was so outrageous as to be beyond the law’s protection – a view that, however legally sound, some might find highly disconcerting.

But enough of the law. The social impact of this episode is more important. Put bluntly, it is difficult to see anyone, apart perhaps from Miss Omooba herself, who comes well out of it. In particular, almost no-one said what might be regarded as obvious to any liberal observer: namely, that whatever her views might be, there was room in the theatrical world for amicable coexistence between her and those who disagreed with her. (The closest anyone came seems to have been the chairman of the theatre’s Board of Trustees, who at least had the decency to say she should not be penalised for her views).

Take first the actor who started the debacle by spilling the beans about the Facebook post. By then a successful and fairly well-known performer in his own right, he used his status to prejudice the position of a younger actress with whom he disagreed, who was still attempting to find her feet in a very difficult profession.

It was unattractive, many might say, gratuitously to publicise a long-dead Facebook post by her in the knowledge that it would probably turn an employer against her and cause her to be sacked and possibly lose her career. To anyone who believes in freedom of opinion and live and let live, it was even less attractive then to go further, as he did, and tweet his congratulations to the theatre after it won its case against her.

Nor did the problem lie only with the actor who started the ball rolling. Anyone who thinks the progressive and theatrical world is somehow a beacon of open-mindedness needs only to read about others involved in this affair to see things from a rather different angle.

The news editor of trade paper The Stage said he felt “betrayed” by Miss Omooba’s presence in the acting profession with the views she had. The artistic and musical directors of the Curve seem to have made it pretty clear from the outset that however good an actress she might be, they were unhappy continuing to work, or having the Curve continue to work, with someone sharing her beliefs. Furthermore, if we are to believe the judgment of the Employment Tribunal, so did at least one performer in the production.

The same view was equally expressed, it seems, by a number of clients and employees of the agency. Their willingness to have a professional relationship with it apparently did not extend to tolerating its representation of someone on its books who had opinions they did not like.

Furthermore, at least if the belief of the director of the Curve was correct in his belief, Midlands theatre-goers themselves would adjust their views of Miss Omooba not simply on how good or convincing she was on stage, but what her private opinions on sexual matters were off it, and clap or boo her accordingly.

None of this, to say the least, makes for attractive reading. Nor does it bode well for the idea of a properly diverse arts scene, in the sense of an area where a variety of views can be expressed without fear of exclusion or worse. If we regard a bigot as someone who is not only firmly and undetachably wedded to a belief or opinion, but also shows antagonistism towards those who who disagree with him and a willingness to disadvantage them, there can be only one conclusion.

In contrast to the attitude of Miss Omooba, who by all accounts was perfectly willing to work alongside those who disagreed with her, bigotry and intolerance remain alive, well and flourishing in and beyond the Leicester theatrical community. And more depressingly still, it seems most at least of those involved in that community are quite happy, from what they see as the best of motives, to keep things that way.

Unlike some, I’ll keep an open mind. But at present I think I’ll probably be giving Leicester a wide berth once theatres are open again.

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13 Comments on ‘I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death my right to silence you.’ Another case of LGBT persecution of its opponents

  1. Voltaire might point out that when something genuinely appalling happens – for example, what took place in a park in Reading last summer, where three gay men were killed by a Muslim – the LGBTQ activists stayed conspicuously quiet.

    (And I myself might also make this point).

    • Yes, what is Good, Beautiful and/or True, and what is Ethical, what is Moral, etc, depends on what we are willing to pay to make things so.

  2. For many decades now, it has been said, in many different ways, that: The Anglosphere is being destroyed by an alliance of Big Statists, home-grown and foreign anti-Westernists, parasites and naive idealists. And that one of main weapons used by these enemies of the Anglosphere is the elevation of resentment of and/or hostility against productive Whites, Christians and even post-Christians, heterosexual nuclear families, and the components and effects of empiricism and proper education. And yes, capable Western observers of the West foresaw all this several centuries ago. It is now clear it is happening, and it is now accepted that there is no remedy.

  3. “Miss Omooba had made it clear in a Facebook post that she regarded homosexuality as being forbidden by Biblical teaching and morally unacceptable…

    …members of the [employment] tribunal…said that they personally found her opinions offensive and distasteful, on the tendentious basis that they denied “the foundation of another person’s integrity and identity.”

    So the tribunal members think that believing that homosexuality is wrong denies homosexuals’ integrity and identity?

    How do they make that leap of (il)logic? And what happened to freedom of conscience and freedom of speech? In the UK of all places!

    So from now on, no one in the UK may even express any thought that differs from the publicly reported finding of the employment tribunal’s members if they wish to remain employed. Is that it?

  4. Well, her opinions are obnoxious wrt homosexual people – and others are right to object. But to destroy her career and have her hounded out of her livelihood? That’s a separate and equally obnoxious thing to do. It’s blackmail culture, and everyone involved has caved into it. I fail to see the difference between dehumanising treatment on the basis of a person’s sexuality and dehumanising people because of the views they hold.

    • Yes, in what I see, the incidence of obnoxiousness -on any dimension of belief or behaviour- is no less among non-heterosexuals and non-Christians, or among anti-heterosexuals and anti-Christians, than it is among heterosexuals and Christians.

  5. Aaron Lee Lambert, the actor who hounded Miss Omooba, would not enjoy the celebrity, power and the money that he does, were he to live in any non-Anglophone nation. Certainly not anywhere in Africa or in Islamic parts. And actually, I doubt he’d have all the boons and benefits he currently enjoys were he in France, or even in Germany. That no denizen of the entertainment-arts industry speaks up against Lambert, against his terrible power-mongering, and against his appalling parasitism, is simply the way it is there in that pathetic industry. But thing is, Lambert types -non-White and anti-heterosexual- are now surging in all walks of life.

  6. The actor in question – the odious Aaron Lee Lambert – is a fixture of that monument to reverse-racism, the stage play Hamilton. This is the same man who tweeted that ‘Britain is a cesspool of racists and racist apologists’, yet seems quite oblivious to the offence caused by his own overt and public religious prejudice. He is a snitch, a coward and a race-hustler who has no business earning a living in this country. If he finds the UK so abhorrent, he is welcome to collect up his belongings and leave.

  7. How long before we see Chinese-style ‘re-education camps’ in Britain? After all, we already have a coercive re-education facility in practice; namely the ‘speed awareness course’ to save losing points on your driving licence when caught by a camera at 5mph over an imposed speed limit.

    • The EU was planning re-education camps for recalcitrant “racist” youths; this unpublicised fact was the last straw that sent me, as a supporter of unity among Europeans, to the voting booth for Brexit.

      However, wokeism is already the ideological framework of the curriculum in British schools, from nursery to university, especially in history and literature. It goes back to the NNC “Whole Curriculum” document sent to all schools, without government knowledge, and any glance at “Education” the teacher trade union magazine, will show what is now going on in front of the “chalkboard” (if the classroom has one). As I write this Tom Bradby on ITV News is telling us the good news of the new Black BAFTA nominations with black teen Bukky Bakray (qv Wikipedia) and a clip from a movie with Black Power gangs.

  8. As for myself, while this woman was indeed mistreated, I do not particularly mind that so-called intellectuals, artists, journalists, etc. now live in a state of constant fear of harm from the brainwashed mob, considering they created it in the first place.

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