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Stylist Sues Oprah's 'Color'

Claims It's Too White

5/18/2007 11:36 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

A former stylist and dresser for Oprah Winfrey's "The Color Purple" is suing the Broadway show -- produced and presented by the media queen herself -- after she was fired, she says, for daring to suggest that there weren't enough people of color working for the show.

Oprah Winfrey
TMZ has just obtained a lawsuit filed by Shawnique Hill in a Manhattan federal court. She alleges that during her employment she raised the issue with one of the bosses that, "while the talent employed onstage was a cast of African American actors ... the crew hired backstage was Caucasian with the exception of three persons of color." What's more, she claims that her direct supervisor -- a Caucasian -- addresssed her as "sister" and "girlfriend," which offended Hill, who is black.

Hill claims the production retaliated against her for the comment, harassing her, and ultimately firing her. Hill seeks unspecified damages.. Oprah was not individually named in the suit.

UPDATE: A rep for "The Color Purple" tells TMZ, "We can confirm it is in litigation. We are confident there has been no violation of law."

84 COMMENTS

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1.

judy nyc    

as long as you mnetioned Oprah in any relation to racism- shes one of the worst racists around. I,m amazed at her constant audienence of white woman sitting and applauding as she tells Christopher Darden that perhaps Nicole Simpson & Ron Goldman,s murderer wasn,t convicted by an L.A. jury as pay back for all the "black injustice" in this country. Darden replied- looking appropriately stunned- they if anyone was going to "walk" for perceived injustices to people of color- it surely SHOULDN,T be O.J. Simpson.. ... So I could care less abt. ANYTHING in which Oprah Winfrey is involved.Amazing that anyone whom ha obviouslyfelt the sting of racism has come so far circle that she,s paying it forward now.......

2665 days ago
2.

SAD    

i'm not gonna touch this topic it's oprah for god sakes!!!lol

2640 days ago
3.

PepperMurray    

Nobody BETTER be messin with my OPRAH ya here!

She is the EMPRESS of this UNIVERSE.....so back off her or I will kick your butt!

2656 days ago
4.

K Lynette    

#81 you are an idiot, shut up

2616 days ago
5.

Shamebaby    

I am a person of color and I am a manager for a temp agency and I'm here to tell you that I get managers and owners of companies saying to me " please don't send me an urban person I prefer a blue eye" meaning that they want a white person and not a black person and they say that to me because over the fone they think that I'm white so if that's not discrimination I don't know what is honey.

2671 days ago
6.

Dottie    

TMZ has it out for Oprah this week. Another racially motivated story. You guys are hitting an all time low. Scrape that barrel.

2683 days ago
7.

D    

Yes, it's true- people of color are "underrepresented and mistreated behind the curtains on Broadway," and i am happy that Ms. Hill is doing something about it to make sure that more people of color are working for the show as employees.

It's a sad situation in the U.S. that people of color (blacks, asians, hispanics, etc.) fail to get top jobs and priority when it comes to the work force.

2683 days ago
8.

Lou Ciefer    

Who gives a crap? I really don't get the appeal of seeing this updated version of a minstrel show. Seeing a bunch of "mammies" whining and bitching is not a good time on Broadway. The Producers was a musical and amazingly funny and entertaining. The Color Purple is the color of a black eye.. BTW, I'm black and you would never get me to pay money to see this whiny crap. It's subject is totally Craptasia.

2683 days ago
9.

D    

But honestly, TMZ- was it really necessary to mention Oprah in this story? I don't understand why you guys have a problem with her...

2683 days ago
10.

jules    

Dana,

Last time I checked Connie Rice is a person of "color".

2683 days ago
11.

melissa    

Ok, you're mad cause blacks aren't working on Broadway? Come on!

2683 days ago
12.

sarah    

can you really call connie rice a "black" woman?

2683 days ago
13.

West Coastian    

I'll wait to hear what the other side says is the reason she was fired. It would be pretty lame if this is a true statement. They'd deserve to have their a$$es sued.

2683 days ago
14.

Billy Idol Still Rocks    

There really need to be more information on this story. How many "people of color" applied for the jobs? What were their qualifications?

2683 days ago
15.

ANNA    

OH PLEASE!! it's SOOOOOOOOO disgusting that black people use RACISM every time they get fired! And EVERYONE bows down to that! It's gotton to be such a JOKE!

2683 days ago
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