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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."


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Wowza so many racist assumptions....and those who are pointing fingers are no better

All races are fairly well represented on the unemploymnent market, the uneducated, the uninsured etc..there is a SAM in every race.

This is another get rich scam , not an affirmative action case. And she is a disgrace to all minorities for giving some of the people on here the oppotunity to help reverse hard fought civil rights in this country

Some posters need to do some further reading on affirmative action..the group that beniffited most were WHITE WOMEN and it didnt mean they were not well prepared for the positions they were employed for....Those who were against affirmative action did hire unprepared individuals just to prove a point, which should not have been so.

Please dont place all you personal frustrations on one RACE and minorities . Dont attribute your personal frustrations on affirmative actions...if someone is good enough, they will get a job regardless...if you are getting turned down by numerous ppl , take a look at your cv and spif f it up rather than going home to blame affirmative action..there are 50 states in this federation...interesting to note that you cant find one single employer .......
If a succesful Black ppl were to have given up during the times when doors were slammed in their faces, they would have ended up still hanging out at the Curb..rather they prevailed, by improving,educating, till someone gave them a chance.

I believe affirmative action was designed for those who were prepared and needed that break, not the misconstrued notion of hiring uneducated folk simply because they were women or white

Racism of any kind is bad and we are all racist to a point, just takes the right conditions to blurt it out.. Some make a concious desicion to work on it, others are proud of being racisr, I have no beef with either..however just be well informed about your stance and come across as knowleageble rather than POINTING FINGERS because you can behind the safety of your computer screens

2716 days ago

Karen Walker    

We are frustrated with blacks because all they do is bitch!!

2716 days ago


This isn't about equal opportunities, as the woman would like us to believe. It's about her getting caught for being disrespectful to her coworkers, and now she wants compensation...does she deserve it? No. Did she get fired because she's black? No. She created a hostile working environment, so she was let go.

Even an ignorant country bumpkin knows that all African Amercian people aren't lazy. I work with scientists who are from every race imaginable. They put in more than 40 hours a week and don't get paid for it. Children's cancer research is more important to them than a paycheck.

But I really do get tired of hearing the race card drawn everytime something goes wrong....George Lopez did recently as well, but his stand up is based on making fun of the white folks, so who the hell cares. Give me Bill Cosby or Sinbad humor any day. I'd also listen to Will Smith's music over some other rappers' (I can't think of a rapper's name...I hate the music, there's no substance) because it doesn't rag on women for being ho's and bitches.

If you can be successful without making fun of a race or gender, more power to you.

2716 days ago

get a grip    

Miapocca- You seem to be the one that needs a history lesson. First of all you seem to think the word racist only applies to blacks. (shows your true colors) Your comment on affirmative action are way off try telling that crap to the white guy who received a 98 percent on the police exam only to find out his black friend who received a 62 (NOT EVEN PASSING SCORE) was the one to get the job! (this did happen)

And for "who do you think prepared this country for you"(straight from who built America history book)
From 1830 to 1850, about 2.5 million immigrants came to this country. Most of these immigrants were from Ireland, Germany, and England. Some came from France, Italy, Scandinavia, Poland, and Holland. In the 1850's, 50% New York's population was made up of immigrants. Immigrants dominated the populations of many Midwest urban areas

2716 days ago

Karen Walker    

Way back in the 1960s when we liberals were fighting for civil rights legislation to be passed, so thats blacks could be on equal footing with the rest of the population, southern whites said we would one day regret it. We should have listened to them. These people are NEVER satisfied with anything!

2716 days ago



2716 days ago

Jennifa O Jenny    

OK - jennifer is a common name - but I just want to clarify that comment #68 is not me. I think I am going to change my signed name to something less common. lol

While obviously you can't lump a race of people all together as all being this and all being that - I do agree with the fact that there is a lot of black people in our country that complain but don't take action. They want change to come about by the work of others. It's not hurting non-black people that this happens. Black people are hurting themselves when they complain and don't take any real action to better their situation.

Black people are not the only discriminated fraction in our country - but they are the first and the loudest to complain about it. Complain - that's about where it begins and ends. There are other races just as descriminated against - if not more so, but they take steps to better their lives instead of sitting around wondering why others aren't doing it for them.

I think that because people like MLK and Malcom X died too soon that there was nobody around to take the movement to the next step. They demanded that the american system be set up in a more fair fashion. But they did not live long enough to lead black americans into how to deal with these rights that were won once they had them. So now black americans only know to complain but don't know how to take it to the next level. Stuck in a vicious cycle where they are their own worst enemy.

Obviously there is a whole fraction of black americans that ARE doing the right thing, they ARE working hard and even if they do complain they also back it up WITH ACTION. It's unfortunate that the majority that are doing the right thing have to deal with getting a bad rap as a result of people like Al Sharpton and Ms. Hill. But it's the destructive fraction that gets the media attention and largely effects the public image of black americans. It's a hame.

2716 days ago

Karen Walker    

Woohoo!! Thank you HAHA #47 I thought I was the only one who thought Oprah was getting a little bit of a big head about herself!!

2716 days ago


just another example of "give me " culture fostered and bastardized by Sharpton,and
Jackson.They are turning on rich blacks now.Eating their own.

2716 days ago


Some posters need to do some further reading on affirmative action..the group that beniffited most were WHITE WOMEN and it didnt mean they were not well prepared for the positions they were employed for....Those who were against affirmative action did hire unprepared individuals just to prove a point, which should not have been so.

Wow,sure was shocked affirmative action beneffited white women most. I retired after 26
yrs. working in the Los Angeles County school district . I worked in administration and
this is the first time i remember anyone advancing that theory...

2716 days ago


It sounds like the sister and girlfriend thing was taken totally out of context. I really don't understand why that would be considered racist. Those terms are used in the English language period, for women in general, not just black women.

I don't see what grounds she has for suing. What if very few black people interviewed? Sorry if I sound ignorant but I doubt they were being discriminatory when the resume with the name Shawnique showed up. . .

2716 days ago


I guess if you can proclaim your knowledge of why and how something is racist, and hold it up as a beacon of truth to show tolerance for people of all color, then using the word "cracker" to describe white people is okay. Am I missing something with some of these responses?

2716 days ago


I'm black immigrant and i have to say that I agrre that american black people really need to stop nobody like me becuz i'm black american stories .

2716 days ago


offended cuz she was addressed as girlfriend, sister.........

sounds like someone should have just said I rather you not refer to me as your sister or girlfriend. These two adjectives are not derogatory!!!!!!!

Someone is really buggin.

2716 days ago


To Ms. Shawnigue Hill. Since you be offended by "sister" or "girlfriend" by a well meaning "white" woman, how beez it you wanna be addressed. Do youze prefer how your "brothers"
be addressin' you ze, you know "n----r" or "wh--r". Be dammned woman people can't be
showin' you no damn respect what not your bitchin, bitch. Dammed goods ya bi gon.

2716 days ago
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