'Young and the Restless' Star Victoria Rowell Sues Show for Racial Discrimination

Victoria Rowell, 'The Young and the Restless' actress who played Drucilla Winters on the soap opera, is suing the show's producers for refusing to re-hire her, a decision she believes is motivated by racism.

Rowell's lawsuit details the racial discrimination and severe mistreatment that she faced while cast on the show from 1990 to 2007.

Examples of racist behavior at the hands of actors and show creators are many. Rowell had to personally pay for a hairstylist capable of doing African American hair. On set, both Rowell and the stylist were harassed by cast members and degrading comments were made about the smell of Rowell's hair.
According to court documents, other racially motivated incidents involve specific actresses.  Melody Thomas Scott wore an afro wig around set to mock Rowell and in one instance Michelle Stafford spat on Rowell, calling her a "freak" and shouting "no one here likes you!"

Rowell starred in over 2,000 episodes during her time on the program. She decided to quit when show writers made her character "go insane":
She was thrown in a strait jacket and hauled to asylum. Her character then fell off a cliff and the body never found, leaving some fans clamoring for her return and a resolution of the mystery.
Rowell has since been blacklisted from any jobs with the CBS Network. Court documents allege that this blacklisting is due to Rowell's outspoken advocacy for African Americans.

In the lawsuit she is seeking back pay, front pay, and damages. A CBS spokeswoman believes the lawsuit is senseless:
“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.”

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Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Courtney Taylor is a senior English-Creative Writing major at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, GA. She is an editorial intern at For Harriet. Follow her on Twitter @thecourtcase or reach her by email: Courtney@forharriet.com

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