Victoria Rowell played the character of Drucilla Barber Winters on “The Young and The Restless” for nearly fourteen years-- until racial discrimination and a hostile work environment forced her to reluctantly leave the show. Unfortunately, Rowell’s experience wasn’t unique: Although African-American women comprise a large percentage of the viewership of Y&R and daytime soaps in general, CBS, the network on which Y&R is shown, has an abysmal record of hiring people of color. According to an analysis in the New York Times, CBS, the nation’s most popular network, is also the whitest: CBS “had the most diversity 15 years ago and now has the least.”
Rowell tried to change all that. During her time on Y&R and ever since, she’s been speaking out about the lack of diversity on the set, openly advocating for the employment of more African-Americans and people of color. But now she’s paying the price.
CBS, Sony Pictures Television and their media partners have refused to re-hire Victoria Rowell because of her efforts to increase diversity on the network.
That’s not because characters featuring positive portrayals of people of color aren’t profitable or popular. Y&R is the #1 daytime drama among African-American women, and Rowell received 11 NAACP Image Awards and two Daytime EMMY nominations for her role as Drucilla. Audiences have clamored for her return ever since she left the show eight years ago.
But Rowell committed the crime of outing the lack of diversity at “The Young and the Restless.” At more than 100 public appearances, Rowell spoke out about the need for greater representation of African-Americans on a show whose audience is estimated to be 40% African-American women.
Ever since, her efforts to get re-hired have been rebuffed.
Tell CBS and Sony that its programs needs to be reflective of the audiences that watch them. Tell them to hire more people of color for The Young and The Restless—and to start by bringing back Victoria Rowell as Drucilla.
While Rowell’s attempts at diversification were rejected and ignored, CBS and Sony can’t ignore the millions in their audiences. Please add your name to the petition to show the higher ups at CBS and Sony that we deserve programming that represents who we are as a nation: diverse and unique.
Sign a petition to urge CBS President Les Moonves, Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko to increase diversity on set and behind the camera.
Make your voice heard on Twitter! Tweet #dru4diversity to show your support for an increase in diversity in the entertainment industry both on set and in the control room.