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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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16.

rolanda    

by the way it is Condi, not Connie

2713 days ago
17.

ANNA    

Why is it that a BLACK PERSON gets fired & then they SCREAM racism! And everyone JUMPS? Just so insane!! White people get fired everyday & nothing is said about it. But boy we hear about it when a BLACK person gets FIRED & it's RACISM!!

2713 days ago
18.

HELLO!?!?    

Give me a break. I am so sick of hearing these bogus attempts to get rich. Im just not buying it. "people of color" have the advantage these days. Um, yes they do. My husband applied for a principal job and was told directly to his face it all comes down to the color of his skin. He is white. Is anyone going to do anything about that? No. The same discrimination is applied the Chicago City Fire fighters. The "people of color" have the upper hand these days. There is no convincing me otherwise as i here it everyday in the city. Did they ever think the people that were hired were the qualified choice and if they happen to be white/black/hispanic then more power to it. I think hiring should be based on qualification and how one presents themselves. Not the color of their skin. Funny, that this is what they are preaching, don't look at color yet thats exactly what they are having us do by saying there are not enough "people of color" working here. Who cares!!! I dont even notice things like that. Even if they were ALL people of color, WHO CARES!!! Just another peron trying to get rich by suing Oprah.

2713 days ago
19.

Katsy    

Why should people of ethnic background get top priority for all jobs? Shouldn't it be based of talent, if some talented people have been turned away because of their skin colour then yeah, the company should be sued. It sounds though like the womens just having a hissy fit because she got fired.

2713 days ago
20.

D    

To address a few things... (and this is aimed at everyone, not only one person)

Yes, Ms. Rice is a person of color. However, she is one of the few working minorities.

Also, my comments are not ment only for this situation. All across the country, qualified minorities are being discriminated against. Now don't get me wrong, i'm not accusing anyone- but based on my knowledge (which i am positive is correct), certain places in the U.S. (usually rual areas) discriminate, and this situation is just one of many. I am certainly glad that it has been called to attention, despite the many negative reactions to it.

And it saddens me to see people like "MLK," "lulusez," and "Hate them both," bring forth unesscesary sterotypical comments and racial slurs to address this issue. I appreciate the different opinions on this matter, and i just believe that if you disagree with someone or something, please get your point across in a mature way.

2713 days ago
21.

I call bullshit    

'Dana' - its not about color, its about who does the job best. Stop blaming society for lack of education and work ethic within certain minority groups.

2713 days ago
22.

D    

To: "Hate them both" & "dumbazzes"

Also, i am POSITIVE that everytime a black person gets fired, they don't "scream racism," otherwise there would be alot of lawsuits around the country.

So please do not classify an entire race by the actions of one person.


To: "Katsy"

You are thinking of Affirmative Action, something that has absolutly nothing to do with this situation.

However, if you would like to talk about it... yes, there are alot of different opinions on A.A., and if it really bothers you that much, contact your local goverment official to make a change, and stand up for your beliefs. Instead of complaining about it on TMZ.

2713 days ago
23.

Jamie    

HELLO?! You people are idiots. It says SHE GOT FIRED BECAUSE SHE COMPLAINED ABOUT THE RACIAL MAKE UP OF THE TEAM!!!!

If a white person bitched there were too many black people, you'd want them fired.
WHY IS IT DIFFERENT TO YOU IF A BLACK PERSON BITCHES?!

Shut your ignorant mouths. No double standards. She's a racist and she got fired for being a racist.

2713 days ago
24.

Standards are badly needed.    

She got the chop after 'complaining about the racial make-up of the behind the scenes crew.'
Enough said. Productions need to be copacetic, cooperative places, and as her boss if I had to listen to her beaking off when the show's the thing, I'd fire her ass if it were polka dot.
She sounds like a delight. NOT.

2713 days ago
25.

D    

To "THIS BITCH DESERVES TO GET FIRED,"

I'm not going to lie, that is a very good point- a double standard does exist to an extent.

And thankyou for stating your opinion without adding any racial sterotypes and classifications, such as "all black people do this, all hispanics do that..."

Although you seemed a bit angry, you stated your opinion well... unlike many others on this site.

2713 days ago
26.

D    

Same to you "LittleGTO."

Although i don't agree 100% with what you are saying, i like the way you said it... it really made me think.

2713 days ago
27.

Dottie    

Dana, these a$$es don't care what the story is really about. All they need is to have a black person mentioned. Stop stressing over these jerks. God don't like ugly.

2713 days ago
28.

HELLO!?!?    

It's a sad situation in the U.S. that WHITE people fail to get top jobs and priority when it comes to the work force, AS WELL.

2713 days ago
29.

Standards are badly needed.    

She got canned because of her complaining. I have crews, and as the boss if I have someone who whines and complains, & someone who is positive and does the job I hired them for, who am I going to get rid of? I decide who I who stays and who goes; I pay the salary. Nothing to do with color. (Except to the complainer!) Gawd, I hate complainers, don't you? Who wants someone like that around? They can bring a whole production down.

2713 days ago
30.

D    

"Annoyed,"

As i said earlier, if you have a problem with Affirmative Action (which has nothing to do with this situation), please contact your local government officials and stand up for you beliefs. Make a change in our community, if you think its for the better.

Complaining about it on TMZ will not change the ideals of A.A. If you really do not like it, please stand up for what you think is right.

2713 days ago
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