To give you a refresher, Rowell, a former Y&R star, played Drucilla Barber Winters on the CBS series for 14 years. After leaving in 2007 and asking to return to either Y&R or The Bold and the Beautiful without any response from CBS, Rowell sued the network, Sony and Bell Dramatic Serial Company in 2015. She believed they were retaliating against her African-American advocacy work for performers in the entertainment industry.
That suit was thrown out in November 2015 because U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt felt that she needed to define her complaint about a specific role she wasn’t being hired for. He allowed her to amend her filing and that’s exactly what she did.
In her amended complaint, Rowell is claiming that Sony took her off the audition list for a smaller role on Days of Our Lives, a show that is also owned by the company. The judge upheld her filing on Friday and Rowell’s case is now allowed to move forward.
This time, I think Rowell has a case. Here’s why.
Blackballing an actor in the entertainment industry has gone on for decades. It happened during the McCarthy era when actors affiliated with the Communist Party surged in Hollywood, and it occurs when an actor is labelled as difficult on set.
Rowell has advocated for black actors to have the same opportunities as white actors — a front-row presence in press photos or hiring black hair stylists to tend to their tresses. She’s even encouraged the network to have black journalists cover daytime shows.
These are all valid complaints in the entertainment industry, as black actors do not always get the same coverage as white actors. If a network thinks Rowell is ruffling a few feathers, it’s easy for them to make sure she doesn’t work for their properties, whether it is Y&R or DOOL.
In some of our SheKnows articles, we saw fans commenting that Rowell’s lawsuit was merely sour grapes over not getting hired back. Those comments even continue on Twitter to her social media account. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize her work since improving conditions for other African-American actors is a valid and ongoing fight in the entertainment industry.
It's not about race. Look at how you act when you don't get your way! Grow up!
— Kimberly T. McBride (@southernmimi71) June 21, 2016
Instead of diminishing Rowell’s complaints, why don’t fans support her? The judge certainly thinks she has a right to be heard, and so do I.