Former The Young and the Restless star Victoria Rowell (ex-Drucilla Barber Winters) is suing both CBS and Sony for not rehiring her, directly blaming President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation Les Moonves. Rowell claims CBS, Sony Pictures Television, Bell Dramatic Serial Company and Bell-Phillip Television Production Inc. are not allowing her back on Y&R or its sister soap The Bold And The Beautiful as retaliation for her public and private complaints regarding the lack of diversity at Y&R both in front of and behind the camera.
Daytime Confidential broke the news today. The lawsuit claims that this is a violation of federal law and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and alleges that Rowell was being “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.”
Rowell, who left the top daytime sudser in 2007, states that she has been attempting to return to Y&R and B&B since 2010 but has been denied. Rowell is now seeking damages that include back pay, front pay, benefits and “an order directing Defendants to re-employ Ms. Rowell on Y&R, or at least to consider her seriously for re-employment on Y&R without regard to her prior efforts to address the discrimination that she perceived at Defendants.”
Rowell originated the role of Drucilla Barber Winters on Y&R in 1990. Her primetime and film credits include Diagnosis Murder, Noah’s Arc, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dumb & Dumber, and Eve’s Bayou. Rowell has often taken to social media to express her views regarding diversity on soaps.
Mehri & Skalet, PLLC out of D.C. plus NYC-based Valli Kane and Vagnini LLP and Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP are representing her in the action. The 35 page lawsuit was posted by Deadline.
In response to the lawsuit, CBS release the following statement: “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. We harbor no ill will toward Ms. Rowell, but we will vigorously defend this case.”