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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

No Avatar
31.

who cares?    

i want to move to an all white middle class city where white kids do not listen to rap music

2625 days ago
32.

D    

"LittleGTO",

Thankyou for stating your opinon in a mature way.

When someone states whats on their mind, the way you just did- i actually consider what they are trying to say. You brought up a great point.

2625 days ago
33.

Jamie    

The anger is directed toward people who support this racist's lawsuit, and don't support Imus' lawsuit (he is also racist).


And your facts are incorrect. There are many high profile minorities working in the government and in Hollywood. Last I checked Amanda Ferrera was awarded for her latina show Ugly Betty, and one of the leading Democratic presidential hopefuls is African American.

But I guess you use selective hearing when you state your cases.

And incidentally, shouldn't you be working or something? You seem to have posted at least 20 comments....let me direct you to a more useful site:

cnn.com
drudgereport.com
nytimes.com

Any of these will help you with your "statistical" facts...or shall we say...miscalculations.

Happy Friday, I'm off to do more important things.

2625 days ago
34.

D    

"MLK,"

Wow, we are getting really off topic here. But...

Sorry for you, but rap music is very popular among alot (but not all) of the youth today, and i wish you luck in finding a community like that.

2625 days ago
35.

D    

To: "THIS BITCH DESERVES TO GET FIRED"

I am well aware of the many lawsuits around this country, and i know that there are a few high profile minorities.
However, when you compare that amount to the amount of high profile whites, the amount really doesn't seem as great as you claim.

I am aware of those sites, and go there often.
Also, im only a teenager and on summer vacation so im spending most of my time relaxing, and not working. But i'll probably get a summer job eventually once i get bored, thanks for your interest.

2625 days ago
36.

HELLO!?!?    

I believe it does. It is an example to prove that it is not alway "oh poor minoritys". I am a minority. I am successful. I have not been given any hand outs for it or any discrimination. i do not feel like a victim ever. because I dont think like that and i dont focus on it. the point is, there are two sides to every story. The white people feel it too. Wanna go into AA, like you keep bringing up, ok fine. i was just proving a point.

2625 days ago
37.

StupidPeopleSayStupidThings    

Right, but if there were no whites working that would be fine. I am sick and tired of the racism toward whites. If I said, "Hey, there aren't enough white people here", I would be considered a racist. That is BS!!! How about they hire the most qualified people regardless of color. Oh wait, we can't do that! We have to hire unqualified whiny talentless fools like the woman who got fired! Just so we don't get Al Sharpton or racist Jesse Jackson all fired up.

2625 days ago
38.

aSiF    

WOW - so much bitterness from white folks....what gives. I love the way you want to paint with a broad brush and lump all "colored" folk in the same catagory. Why not grow the hell up, and perhaps you could read a book. You sound really dim.

2625 days ago
39.

D    

"Annoyed,"

When you say "it," what exactly are you referring to? My memory is failing me at the moment.

And i am very happy for you, that you are a sucessful minority.

However, i do not keep bring up Affirmative Action, because it has nothing to do with this situation. You brought it up first, and i just replied to your comment.

Also, i understand that there are two sides to a story, the other people that have posted their opions have helped me to see that- thankyou.

Finally, i'm glad that you feel as though you have proved your point. Sadly, im quite sure i missed it- because i have no idea what point you are trying to make, other than the facts about A.A.

2625 days ago
40.

D    

"Whitefolk,"

You have a fantastic point, but you are also classifying all white people into the same catagory, when you said "so much bitterness from white folks." Although i believe that it really wasn't as terrible as some of the racial comments on this site...

But i really appreciate what you said, and i agree with most of what you just said.

2625 days ago
41.

I see Annoyeds point    

maybe you should read from the beginning. its pretty clear

2625 days ago
42.

Standards are badly needed.    

Thanks, Dana. By complaining, she defeated her own purpose by reducing the people of color ratio in the behind the scenes crew. If she got fired for complaining, as TMZ states above, then she makes herself look even worse by filing a lawsuit out of revenge for being canned for her own complaining which makes it look like she wants or feel entitled to free money that she hasn't even worked for falsely using the race card. That doesn't stand up in her case, as they hired her in the first place! Heaven forbid she look in a mirror and discover that it was her attitude.

2625 days ago
43.

D    

To: "I see Annoyeds point"

Well then, would you like to explain it to me? I am genuinly interested...

I always want to understand what people are saying, in the hopes of expanding my herizons. :)

2625 days ago
44.

get a grip    

oK so this nut is going nuts because there are not enough black people working behind the stage...HELLO thats because they are working on the stage as actors. I don't know about you but I would rather be on the stage acting then running around like crazy behind the stage.

2625 days ago
45.

chopka    

It should be solely whether you are QUALIFIED for the job...not what color your skin is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2625 days ago
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