‘Y&R’s’ Victoria Rowell Suing CBS and Sony Pictures Television Over Alleged Retaliation

Lesley Bohm/CBS

Victoria Rowell, who portrayed Drucilla Winters on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” for the better part of two decades, is suing the network, Sony Pictures Television, Bell Dramatic Serial Company and Bell-Phillip Television Productions, Inc., producers of the daytime drama series, reports Deadline, for what her suit alleges is the result of Rowell being “impoverished and blackballed because she had chosen to speak out against the discrimination and injustice that she had endured and witnessed happen to other African Americans.”

In response to Rowell’s lawsuit, CBS said in a statement today, “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.” The network added, “We harbor no ill will toward Ms. Rowell, but we will vigorously defend this case.”

Rowell is asking for a variety of unspecified damages, including back pay, front pay and benefits. She’s asking for “an order directing Defendants to re-employ Ms. Rowell on ‘Y&R,’ or at least to consider her seriously for re-employment on ‘Y&R’ without regard to her prior efforts to address the discrimination that she perceived at Defendants.”

Rowell’s suit also alleges that “the Defendants have disregarded their own self-interest in their efforts to retaliate against Ms. Rowell,” who reportedly has been trying to get back on the soap since as early as 2010.

Paul Filo/CBS
Paul Filo/CBS

“Sensing from both Bradley Bell’s [executive producer and head writer, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’] and Steven Kent’s [Senior Executive Vice President, Programming, Sony Pictures Television] comments that the decisions were being made at a higher level, meaning at CBS, in March 2011, Ms. Rowell exchanged emails with Leslie Moonves, CBS’s President and Chief Executive Officer, about her desire to return to ‘Y&R’ or start a new role on B&B,” reads the 32 page suit. “Mr. Moonves responded that he no longer was involved in programming or casting for those shows, and suggested that she seek help elsewhere. The suggestion that CBS was not involved in decision-making was not true.”

Since departing “Y&R” in 2007, Rowell has written several books, most recently her novel “The Young and the Ruthless,” a play on the “Y&R” name, and a divorce, in addition to claims on social media on the soap genres lack of diversity, specifically in relation to the CBS daytime drama series.