Former The Young and the Restless star Victoria Rowell is accusing her previous employers of going after those speaking out against racism. Earlier this month, Rowell filed a lawsuit against CBS and Sony Pictures where she alleged both refused to re-hire her over her “public and private complaints regarding the lack of diversity in front of and behind the camera on the show.” In 2007, Rowell left the show after calling it home for 17 years and alleged she departed “reluctantly” after she faced years of “racial discrimination” and tried to return to Y&R and its sister show, The Bold and the Beautiful. Rowell claimed she was shot down by both and listed in her suit, “those in charge of hiring at Sony and at Bell-Phillip Television Production Inc., with CBS’s CEO allegedly pulling their strings,” have denied her return. CBS has claimed Rowell’s accusations have “no merit” and maintained she left the show on her own and will “vigorously defend this case,” against them.
In an interview with The Wrap, Rowell claimed those who insisted on diversity are punished and are retaliated against by the big wigs in Hollywood. According to Rowell,
The level of retaliation in entertainment is profound – it’s terrorism. When you think of not being allowed to work in your art form as a writer, a director, because you speak out. It’s systemic. Agents, managers, they don’t want to rock the boat, because they have a whole cadre of talent they have to keep employed.
Rowell recalled to the site, years ago while she still worked on Y&R, she was hit with a whopping $20,000 fine after she missed one day of work. According to Rowell, she was lecturing inner-city youths at the time she was absent on the set. Rowell claimed the fine she received was much greater than what other actors would obtain in similar instances. Rowell revealed, she went to the NAACP and AFTRA for help regarding her fine and it was revoked. Rowell stated her lawsuit against her former employers is a last ditch effort, she also insists it is to spearhead the end the Hollywood system of racism and to gain equal rights. While Hollywood has seen some diversity in recent years, Rowell charged they need more, and blacks currently in the business have a huge burden applied to them. Rowell remarked:
Shonda Rhimes… cannot be the representation of an entire people, that’s dangerous. There are many people who are African-American and can write very well, but cannot get through that door.