With the Black Lives Matter movement taking center stage in international conversations following last month’s killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died as a result of the now former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placing his knee in Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, social media has been ablaze with actors and celebrities being outed and later fired for their racist and misogynistic viewpoints and references, including “The Flash” actor Hartley Sawyer who played Kyle Abbott on “The Young and the Restless” from 2013-2014. Earlier today, Victoria Rowell took to her Instagram page to share her own personal experiences from her time as Drucilla Winters on daytime’s number one drama series. The actress is also placing a call to action for viewers of the soap and daytime television as a whole.
“Let’s talk [about] personal perspective & equal opportunity—daytime. ‘The Young and the Restless’ pushed to #1 in 1989 due to [the] black consumer-viewership margin. PERIOD. Hidden figures meanwhile, Sony exec, Steve Kent is overheard saying he wants a TRUMP ‘Y&R’ audience, so give the man what he wants ppl. Show him who keeps Y&R #1!” read part one of the Rowell’s three-part post on Instagram.
Referencing Kent and other producers of the series, Rowell says those behind the scenes “have suppressed, denied black exec economic inclusion — refusing to hire Black Executive Producers, producers, head writers & much more in FORTY-SEVEN doggone YEARS! ENOUGH is ENOUGH!”
Rowell says that the show is not entitled to the ad revenue it generates, particularly from its biggest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, without addressing the “unified voices” that make up the majority of the show’s total viewership. “You took the black audience for granted,” Rowell continued.
“National Amusements [owner of ViacomCBS], Ms. Redstone, Bell Dramatic Serial [owner of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’], I gave your combined companies 22 years of award-winning acting service, multiple shows, scripts, books & STILL I was spat on as a BLACK woman, called out my name and more,” Rowell further states in one of her posts. “Leading the retaliation campaign to force me out Steve Kent illegally fined me $20,000 for an alleged missed day of work! SAG-AFTRA [and] NAACP Dr. Geraldine Washington swiftly made sure Steve Kent refunded me every last cent. So, while ‘The Young and the Restless’ continues to exclude #BlackLivesMatter behind all the suds —just know I never took my finger off the pulse.”
Rowell, who departed the sudser in 2007 when her character suddenly fell over a cliff and has never been seen or heard from ever since is calling for the labor unions — PGA, DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, LOCAL 706 — to recognize the “drought” in equal representation in front of and behind the scenes of the American soap operas and says fans should #BlackOutYoungandRestless “until fair play is achieved & systemic racism is rooted out!”
One particular demand of Rowell’s is that Sony Pictures Television, which owns 51% of “Y&R,” immediately remove Steve Kent from his post as Senior Executive Vice President of Programming, overseeing both “Y&R” and “Days of our Lives.”
Rowell previously sued CBS and Sony over what she says included her 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.” The case was later dismissed.
You can read the entirety of Rowell’s three-part post below.
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PART I @blklivesmatter peaceful protest #Hollywood w/my son! Get ready for Rev. Al Sharpton & EPIC Washington rally Aug. 28, anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech! This movement encompasses ALL dreams deferred, all brutality from the boardroom to the streets. Donate to the Black Lives Matter bail fund – thousands remain in jail due to lack of funds. Let’s talk personal perspective & equal opportunity—daytime @youngandrestlesscbs pushed to #1 in 1989 due to black consumer-viewership margin. PERIOD. Hiddenfigures 🤦🏽♀️ meanwhile, Sony exec, @SteveKentSony is overheard saying he wants a TRUMP Y&R audience, so give the man what he wants ppl. Show him who keeps Y&R #1! (Continued…)
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PART ll For nearly 5 decades @SteveKentSony & others hv suppressed, denied black exec economic inclusion — refusing to hire Black Executive Producers, producers, head writers & much more in FORTY-SEVEN doggone YEARS! ENOUGH is ENOUGH! @SteveKentSony (blocked me y’all) you can no longer hv our viewership, our Procter & Gamble ad-buy $$$ in the BILLIONS and ignore ALL of our unified voices. When I asked for the missed Y&R episodes to screen for predominantly black Hurricane Katrina victims bussed to live in Los Angeles at The Dream Center Church, you pushed back asking WHY? add to that you had to think about it for a good while. NOT one Y&R exec attended to thank/greet your black loyal Y&R core audience. You sent them sandwiches.
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(Continued) PART lll You took the black audience for granted. The church & 1 used a white SHEET to screen the missed Y&R Episodes for KATRINA victims because @SteveKentSony cldn’t send a screen. BUT they don’t call me #auntievicki for nothin’. Can I tell you how happy it made these beleaguered KATRINA @youngandtherestlesscbs soap fans – young & old to watch the episodes they missed. National Urban League (President, Marc Morial) called @SteveKentSony out from Wall Street summarizing in a letter that @youngandrestlesscbs hiring practices mirrored apartheid & unacceptable in 21st century America! National Amusements, Ms. Redstone, Bell Dramatic Serial, I gave your combined companies 22 years of award-winning acting service, multiple shows, scripts, books & STILL I was spat on as a BLACK woman, called out my name and more @cbstv @youngandrestlesscbs while campaigning for labor diversification on the show. Leading the retaliation campaign to force me out @SteveKentSony illegally fined me $20,000 for an alleged missed day of work! @sagaftra @naacp Dr. Geraldine Washington swiftly made sure @SteveKentSony refunded me every last cent. So while @youngandrestlesscbs continues to exclude #BLACKLIVESMATTER behind all the suds —just know I never took my finger off the pulse. Labor unions PGA, DGA, SAG-Aftra, IATSE, LOCAL 706 and more for nearly a half-century, its been a drought in broadcast soap opera and it MUST change or its #BLACKOUTYOUNGANDRESTLESS until fair play is achieved & systemic racism is rooted out! @SONY remove @SteveKentSony immediately. Sony owns 51% of @youngandtherestlesscbs