OPRAH’S BROADWAY SHOW UNDER FIRE FOR RACIAL BIAS
Newscaster: Now to the big talker, controversy striking Oprah’s Broadway hit, “The
Color Purple.” A former stylist and dresser for the stage musical claiming, “She was
fired after she made comments on the lack of people of color working behind the scenes
on the show.” Shanik Hill filed a federal lawsuit claiming discrimination, breach of
contract, and wrongful termination. The show refuting these claims, insisting the hit
show did not violate any laws. So, how hard is it going to be to prove racial biased?
Does Hill actually have a case? Our panel is back, Mercedes Colwin, Matthew J.
O’Connor, and Tad Nelson back with us now. Tad, let me ask you how does the most
powerful black woman in America and key investor of this Broadway show primarily
staring blacks get sued for racial bias?
Tad: Beats the heck out of me. Oprah Winfrey has done so much for people of color,
this is shocking. I don’t know what the woman was concerned about, from what I read it
sounds like she was concerned about not enough women of color behind the scenes. It
doesn’t make sense.
Newscaster: Ok, so how hard is it going to be for her to prove this, Matthew?
Matthew: Next to impossible, I think you are talking about a cultural icon and to
prove that she has racial animist against African American’s –for get about it, it is not
going to happen.
Newscaster: Alright, Mercedes.
Mercedes: Fifty million dollars to open up a school in Africa to educate young girls,
so that they can be proud of their skin color and live the dreams that they want to dream;
how can you possible sue this woman? Frankly, it is going to be extraordinarily difficult
to prove. You have to show the racial animist and what the theatre company will turn
around and say it was work performance, it was legitimate business reasons for the
reasons for this termination, and low and behold, look at the cast themselves. You can’t
possible believe that this particular play has any sort of animist; when you look at who
they are highlighting here.
Newscaster: Ok, but Tad. Let’s look at the flip side here for just a second. Oprah
obviously is a key investor here, but obviously and I’m sure, she is not the one hiring the
stage hands, the lighting guys, and all the behind the scenes people. So, what if she was
to leave Oprah out of it and go after the show because she can some how prove that their
were more blacks working on other shows and this one happens to be about African
Tad: Again, it is still next to impossible. The fact that you take Oprah out of it or leave
her in it, it is still going to be an almost impossible burden for her to make.
Mercedes: One of the things Julie, is the plaintiff will have to do is say bring the
resumes. I mean that is what they are going to have to show. All of these African
American people actually wanted these jobs, they tried for these jobs, and they weren’t
hired for these jobs. There is no law in the land says that you are required to diversify
you company unless you are a federal contractor, so there is really no issue here in this
Newscaster: Alright, Mercedes, Matthew, and Tad thank you very much.