A group of actors who worked on Neighbours, a long-running soap now stained with a disturbing legacy of alleged racism, have spoken out about their experiences on the show.
A mere two weeks after Shareena Clanton first alleged that she had experienced a slew of racist discrimination while working on Neighbours, the ABC’s 7.30 showed the problem runs deep.
Several former cast members, including Sharon Johal, Meyne Wyatt, Menik Gooneratne, Sachin Joab, Remy Hii, and Alvin Chong, spoke out about their alleged experiences on Neighbours.
Johal said in a statement on social media that a cast member “referred to me as ‘the black one’ and/or ‘blackie’ behind my back in the presence of other crew members”.
A now-former cast member also “repeatedly mimicked the Indian character Apu from The Simpsons with accompanying Indian accent and movement of head in my presence,” she said, “despite me requesting they desist”.
In an emotional first interview since going public, Clanton told 7.30 that she had witnessed the repeated use of the n-word and the c-word, and said she had witnessed Johal being called a c*** multiple times.
In the report, 7.30 said Johal was not working on the show at the time but was due to return and had previously raised her concerns about racism on set.
Clanton said Neighbours had been “the worst environment that I’ve worked in” and that calling out racism “left me isolated, bullied, marginalised”.
Industry union the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), has now intervened and met with the production company for Neighbours, Fremantle.
According to 7.30, the MEAA is now insisting on new anti-racism, sexual harassment and discrimination training for all staff.
“This is standard practice in the US,” MEAA director Michelle Rae told 7.30. “The allegations over the past two weeks of racist and discriminatory behaviour on the set of Neighbours must be the catalyst for industry-wide change to make screen workplaces safer and more inclusive.”
Fremantle declined to be interviewed by 7.30 and did not respond when asked directly about specific allegations. The show’s broadcaster in Australia and the current executive producer of Neighbours, Network 10, also declined interview requests, 7.30 reported.
However, Fremantle directed the national broadcaster to a statement that reads:
“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees on the set of Neighbours and take very seriously any questions about racism or any other form of discrimination.
“We are engaging an independent legal investigation to work concurrently with Campfire X’s cultural review and hope to work directly with the individuals that have raised concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps are appropriate.”
You can watch this story on 7.30 on ABC TV and iview.
Featured image source: YouTube/ABC News (Australia)
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