Victoria Rowell Sues The Young and the Restless for Racism

Victoria Rowell Sues The Young and the Restless for Racism

Soap star says she was mocked for her race by producers.

Published February 13, 2015

Sounds like the drama happening behind the scenes at the Young and the Restless was more intense than anything happening on camera.

Victoria Rowell, who starred on the soap opera from 1990 until 2007, has sued the producers of the show for not re-hiring her for racist reasons, the New York Daily News reports.

Rowell, 55, played Drucilla Winters, appeared in over 2,000 episodes and claims that Black actors were treated as second-class stars on the set, and that she even had to pay for a “capable African-American hair stylist.”

CELEBS WHO STARRED IN SOAP OPERAS

“White actors and actresses taunted Ms. Rowell and the stylist with impunity, and told Ms. Rowell that her hair ‘smelled,’” the lawsuit reads. Rowell also claims her co-star Melody Thomas Scott mockingly wore an oversize afro wig on set, and Michelle Stafford spit on her and called her a "freak," screaming "no one here likes you!" 

The actress quit the show when the writers made her character go insane. She was thrown in a straitjacket and hauled to an asylum. Her character then fell off a cliff and the body was never found, leaving some fans clamoring for her return and a resolution of the mystery.

The show, which debuted in 1973, hired its first Black writer in 2011 in large part to Rowell’s public criticism, she says.

Her complaints have resulted in her being shut out from the industry, she says. “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,” documents say.

A spokeswoman for CBS said the suit has no merit. “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 network spokeswoman said. “We harbor no ill will toward Ms. Rowell, but we will vigorously defend this case.”

Rowell will seek monetary damages in court.

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(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Written by Evelyn Diaz

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