‘The Young and the Restless’ Alum Victoria Rowell Noticed This Major Problem While Working On the Set

It’s been years since Victoria Rowell appeared on the set of The Young and the Restless. Since then, the star has taken it upon herself to invest into projects that appeal to her personally. The reason goes back to things she witnessed while filming Y&R. One major problem, she said, is rampant in the industry.

Former ‘The Young and the Restless’ star Victoria Rowell is an advocate for children in foster care

The Young and the Restless
Victoria Rowell | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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After living in the foster care system, Victoria Rowell pursued dance and performing arts to find healing and gain confidence. By the time Rowell aged-out, her career in acting was on the horizon. Her first role came in the 1987 comedy, Leonard Part 6.

Three years later, she became one of the most prominent character in daytime TV. As Drucilla Barber Winters opposite [the late] Kristoff St. John in The Young and the Restless, Rowell both originated the role and held it until 2007. No one has filled the role since.

Throughout the years, the star took various other projects on the side while advocating for multiple other important issues. She founded the Rowell Foster Children’s Positive Plan. The organization provides arts and sports opportunities for children in the foster-care system.

Rowell credits her upbringing for her passion to give back to foster care communities. That aside, Rowell’s place in the daytime soap circuit allowed her to push for certain storylines (such as foster care).

However, the Y&R star has been outspoken about her time on the soap set. What she noticed through all her years in the show is alarming.

Rowell noticed this issue while filming ‘Y&R’

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After filming more than 2,000 episodes of Y&R, over 17 years, Rowell filed a lawsuit against Sony, CBS, and other defendants.

She said: “lack of racial equity on set at Y&R resulted in me being on the receiving end of various racially charged attacks, by white Y&R actors and executives,” according to court documents obtained by Radar Online.

Multiple reports surfaced soon after with Rowell alleging she endured additional “attacks” from those on the set. Some of which include allegations against co-star Melody Thomas Scott mocking Rowell by wearing “an Afro wig,” and Michelle Stafford “spitting” on Rowell, calling her a “freak,” then screaming, “no one here likes you.”

She also claimed Peter Bergman deemed Rowell “mentally unstable” which ended with threats of physical violence. Rowell claims “none of them suffered negative repercussions.”

She said she was “excluded from the in-house pre-Emmy ballot during my last few years on Y&R” and “fined $20,000 for missing a day of work she says she had previously cleared with producers.”

The star’s claims extend far past working on the set. Rowell also alleged that “no black actor was selected to represent the show at the prestigious Monte Carlo Television Festival with very few exceptions.”

She continued: “Black journalists were not included in the show’s press corps, and Y&R producers reluctantly hired a competent hair stylist for black actors and actresses only after I was forced to hire my own independently. However, defendants banned the stylist from the Y&R hair and makeup room, and the stylist became the subject of taunts from white talent.”

The lawsuit went on for two years and ended with an undisclosed settlement. In the meantime, Rowell hasn’t stopped pushing for equal representation in Hollywood.

How Rowell continues fighting against systemic racism in Hollywood

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Rowell has since gone on to form her own production company where she employs Black creators, actors, and artists. Her projects now include those that re-focus the lens toward Black-centered stories.

“I very quickly saw the disparity for African-Americans not only in front but behind the camera and was very active in diversity in the genre of daytime drama television,” she told The Undefeated.

“So you see, when you’re at the wheel, you can cast the net and hire black. We’re there. That’s a myth, that we don’t exist. Not only do we exist, but we have our union cards as well in some cases, many cases.”

As one of four Black women selected to direct short films for BET’s “Her Stories,” Rowell hopes to “empower the next generation of Black women filmmakers,” per Deadline.

“Thrilled to be back on set with friend and #directHER” Ralph,” Rowell said in an Instagram post.

Rowell’s project, Everything Is Fine, will debut on BET July 25.