Days of our Lives and Sony Pictures Television are hoping to end their battle with former The Young and the Restless actress Victoria Rowell (ex-Drucilla Winters), who claims her advocacy campaign to have more African Americans behind and in front of the camera prompted the NBC soap not to cast her in the role of Melinda Trask.
As fans may recall, Rowell filed claims in February of 2015 against The Young and the Restless, alleging that the show refused to revive her popular Genoa City character due to her outspoken nature about increasing diversity in the genre. At the time, she also stated that The Bold and the Beautiful and DAYS also rebuffed her later efforts to appear on both shows for the same reason.
While a judge rejected Rowell's claims against CBS earlier this summer, she was allowed to advance her lawsuit against DAYS and Sony (which produces the NBC soap) with an amended complaint that asserts her name was taken off the audition list when she expressed interest in a role on DAYS.
The judge rejected DAYS' counter argument that Rowell's claim represented an impingement of their First Amendment rights, but The Hollywood Reporter states Corday Productions has since filed a summary judgment motion that asserts the decision not to hire Rowell had absolutely nothing to do with her advocacy. "Rather, Plaintiff -- who has years of daytime drama experience and her own fan base -- was not the right actress to play Melinda Trask, a minor, one-note character who appeared in only 20 episodes of DOOL," wrote Corday's lawyers.
The motion is largely dependent on testimony from DAYS' casting director, Marnie Saitta, who believed the character didn't have enough depth and was therefore inappropriate for Rowell and her talents.
The motion states that Rowell "cannot establish that the Melinda Trask role was not available to her because of her public advocacy," and it goes on to allege that the actress acknowledges both a lack of evidence and any causal link or proof she wasn't allowed to audition because of her advocacy of diversity.
If Rowell hopes to push the case to trial, writes THR, she'll have to convince the judge there's evidence of retaliation, and she'll have to find a way to establish that the official reasons articulated for her not being considered for the role amount to pretext.
As for Sony Pictures Television, the company has also filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that it is not a producer of DAYS and therefore wasn't involved in the casting process for the role of Melinda Trask.
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