Hollyoaks investigating after star's racism allegations

4 months ago 36
google news

Hollyoaks has said it is investigating after actress Rachel Adedeji made allegations of racism against the soap.

The star, who has played Lisa Loveday in the show since 2016, posted a statement on social media about her time on the Channel 4 show as Black Lives Matter protests took place in the UK and around the world, sparked by the death of George Floyd.

She claims she was once told "you're all the same" by a make-up artist and that black female actresses were told to change their hair because otherwise viewers "would not be able to tell them apart".

A memorial honouring George Floyd in Houston's Third Ward where he grew up

Image: A memorial has been created honouring George Floyd in Houston, where he grew up

One senior member of the production team referred to black actors using a racial slur, she also alleged.

In a statement sent to Sky News, Lime Pictures, which produces the soap, said: "Hollyoaks has been deeply shocked and saddened by issues that have been brought to our attention over the weekend.

"Lime Pictures strives to have zero tolerance of racism or any form of discrimination across all of its shows but it is clear we have further work to do. We must stamp out implicit bias which means calling out racism wherever and whenever we see it."

The production company has launched a series of "next steps", including addressing individual concerns with cast and staff members who have raised issues, and encouraging those who have not spoken out about "unacceptable behaviour" previously to do so.

Staff will also be working with "unconscious bias trainers", it said, and making more of an effort to improve diversity on and off screen, as well as reviewing BAME writers and directors schemes "to drive greater inclusivity".

"We are very conscious that we need to do more and are committed to making changes that we need to make," the statement said. "The onus is upon our company collectively and us all as individuals within our community to tackle racism, and it is a responsibility which all of us here at Hollyoaks are taking on fully."

Adedeji, who first rose to fame as an X Factor finalist in 2009, tweeted claims about her experiences on the soap last week.

"Working at Hollyoaks is mostly positive, but the experiences I have encountered are a constant reminder of how difficult it is being a black woman in the industry," she said. "I am no longer standing for it."

Adedeji said "very little is being done behind the scenes" on the show, and accused it of being "performative and disingenuous".

She also said that in her four years on the show she had only worked with one black director.

Last week, Hollyoaks took part in the #BlackoutTuesday social media movement and later announced it was recording a podcast about racism.

Actress and former Eternal singer Kelle Bryan, who plays Martine Deveraux, commended the soap and producers for "having the guts to have the conversation" in a tweet launching the podcast.

In her statement, Adedeji said more action is needed.

"Putting out a podcast and asking your black cast members to teach you how to tackle these issues is the bare minimum," she said. "Do better."

She finished by saying: "I hope Hollyoaks delivers the same energy when #BlackLivesMatter is no longer trending."

:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Other stars of the soap, including Luke Jerdy, who plays Jesse Donovan, and Amanda Clapham, who plays Holly Cunningham, have spoken out in support of Adedeji.

Hollyoaks is set to resume production in Liverpool this week, after work was stopped due to the coronavirus lockdown, with the cast expected to return for filming in July.

  1. Homepage
  2. Entertainment