Victoria Rowell, who starred as Drucilla Winters on The Young and the Restless from 1990 to 2007, has sued CBS and Sony for racial discrimination, Deadline reports.
In a suit filed Wednesday, Rowell claims she has not been allowed back on The Young and the Restless or The Bold and the Beautiful because of her advocacy for greater diversity on soap operas. Rowell alleges that she was "impoverished and blackballed because she had chosen to speak out against the discrimination and injustice that she had endured and witnessed happen to other African Americans."
CBS disagrees. "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 said in a statement. "We harbor no ill will toward Ms. Rowell, but we will vigorously defend this case."
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The actress, 55, has been actively seeking to return to Young and the Restless since 2010, but alleges that the defendants have conspired against her and "disregarded their own self-interest in their efforts to retaliate against Ms. Rowell." She is now seeking unspecified damages, including back pay, front pay, benefits and an order to re-employ her on Young and the Restless or at least "to consider her seriously" for re-employment.
Rowell claims she directly appealed to CBS president Les Moonves, but he claimed to no longer be involved in programming or casting. The suit, however, states that "The suggestion that CBS was not involved in decision-making was not true." Congresswoman Maxine Waters reportedly even tried to appeal with Moonves to get Rowell back on the show, but the CBS president said that if Waters contacted him again on behalf of Rowell, he would reporter her to the House Ethics Committee.
"It is unclear what Mr. Moonves thought was unethical about Ms. Wataers advocating for a constituent, but his response certainly showed Mr. Moonves' hositility," the suit states.