Victoria Rowell used to play Drucilla Winters on The Young & the Restless, and it seems she had wanted to reprise the role a while back. The show passed on the opportunity, and now the actress has filed a lawsuit over the issue.
Daytime Confidential shares that Rowell is suing CBS and Sony, claiming that they wouldn’t bring her back in retaliation for being vocal about the low presence of African-Americans on soaps. The lawsuit was filed in New York and names CBS, Sonny, and other defendants. It seems she alleges that she was denied re-employment with The Young & the Restless and she says it was because she had made both private and public complaints about the lack of diversity in soaps, both behind and in front of the cameras.
As the Wrap shared some time back, Rowell went on a three-hour Twitter rant in March 2014 about the lack of diversity in soaps, and she’s been openly critical of the soap on this issue previously, as well. Though Rowell played Drucilla Winters for a number of years, she left in 2007. She said at the time that she departed because of behind-the-scenes politics that kept her from getting Daytime Emmy nominations. The show never went into detail about her departure.
Victoria’s character was written out of the show by falling over a cliff, and Y&R fans have long wondered if she would return. Given all that is transpiring right now with the Winters family on the show, this would certainly be the perfect time for Dru to return. Clearly, given Victoria Rowell’s lawsuit, that’s not going to happen without a recast any time soon.
Rowell’s lawsuit alleges that she left Y&R reluctantly in 2007 due to years of racial discrimination. She went into detail in the complaint, it seems, and she notes that she had been trying to get back onto Young & Restless or onto The Bold and the Beautiful since 2010. She alleges that her attempts to join one of the two sister soaps has been denied by those hiring at Bell-Phillip Television Production, Inc. and Sony. She also alleges that the CBS CEO pulls those strings to prevent her re-hiring.
The actress alleges that the refusal to bring her back was retaliation for her “advocacy to increase the presence of African-Americans in daytime soap operas in general, and on The Young and the Restless in particular.” She adds that this happened despite fans wanting the character’s return and that viewers have rejected efforts to recast the role.
Many soap fans suspect that this may be a losing battle for the actress. Y&R is currently in the middle of a very heavy storyline involving Neil, Lily, Hilary, and Devon, all African-American actors. The Bold and the Beautiful is less diverse, though the character of Maya is certainly heavily featured right now. Many fans say that they don’t argue that there are some diversity issues, but the method Rowell has used to speak out may have been simply too much for her to then be brought back into the fold.
Just what will come of Victoria Rowell’s lawsuit against Sony, CBS, and the others? The Young & the Restless fans will be curious to see what comes next.
[Image via Full Issue]