The Young and the Restless star Victoria Rowell has made some shocking claims of racial discrimination on the set of the super popular soap — and some of the incidents got physical.
The actress claims that her days with the show were tainted by hideous racism — a charge producers deny — and that despite the wild popularity of her character Drucilla Winters with fans, she was unceremoniously killed off and her requests to return to her job have been denied.
According to court documents obtained by Radar Online, Rowell said the “lack of racial equity on set at Y&R resulted in me being on the receiving end of various racially charged attacks, by white Y&R actors and executives.”
She went on to explain several shocking incidents when her costars were allegedly horrible to her.
“For instance, one white actress, Melody Thomas Scott, ran onto the set dancing wildly and wearing an oversized Afro wig to mock my Afro-styled hair that day,” Rowell claims. “Another white actress, Michelle Stafford, spat on me on set, called me a ‘freak’ then screamed, ‘no one here likes you.’ Ms. Stafford later publicly admitted that she did so in collaboration with the white director, Noel Maxam, and then-producer Edward Scott. A white actor, Peter Bergman, publicly called me mentally unstable and physically threatened me on set. None of them suffered negative repercussions.”
Rowell said her treatment was par for the course on a set that had very few black employees.
“[The] marginalization of black participation on Y&R extended not only in our treatment at the hands of Defendants when hired, but also Defendants’ failure to hire African Americans at all,” she said. “As far as I know, up until 2010, not one writer in its then-37-year-history of Y&R had been African American. Nor had defendants hired any African Americans as executive producers, co-executive producers, casting directors, production designers, musical directors, set design, costume design, and department heads in hair and makeup.”
Rowell claims her mistreatment caused her to quit in 2007, but when fans began clamoring for her return, she was told she could come back “only if I ceased my outspoken campaign for diversity.”
She also recently tweeted that she is not the only black actor on the show who has experienced racial discrimination. She claims Kristoff St. John, who played her husband Neil, is paid far less than he should be compared to the lead white actor.
Ask Y&R owners difference in pay between blk lead actor, Kristoff St. John on Y&R 25 yrs & white actor, Eric Braeden — there's your answer
— Victoria Rowell (@victoriarowell) June 24, 2015
The legal team for Y&R has denied Rowell’s claims and asked for the suit to be dismissed.