Hollyoaks star Rachel Adedeji has called out the Channel 4 soap, claiming it had a “disingenuous” response to the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the world.
Following the death of George Floyd on 25th May 2020, Hollyoaks announced it would be addressing the Black Lives Matter movement with a podcast about racism.
Martine Deveraux star, Kelle Bryan, announced the news on the soap’s Twitter account following a day of silence on social media.
However, Lisa Loveday star Adedeji released a statement on her own Twitter account, claiming Hollyoaks’ move is “performative”.
She wrote to her 32,800 followers: “I am disappointed with Hollyoaks’ approach to showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement yesterday.
“Did Black Lives Matter when I was told ‘You’re all the same’ by a make up artist you employed, and remains in employment till this day?
“Did Black Lives Matter when a number of female black actors were forced to drastically change their hair, because if not, the viewers, ‘would not be able to tell them apart’?
“Do Black Lives Matter when my fellow black cast mates are deemed angry, aggressive, and too vocal?
My thoughts on the Hollyoaks response to Black Lives Matter pic.twitter.com/jvOxzCQkl0
— Rachel Adedeji (@RachelASongs) June 5, 2020
“Did Black Lives Matter when we were referred to as ‘blackies’ by a senior member of the production team?
“Do Black Lives really Matter to you if over the last four years at Hollyoaks, I have only worked with ONE black director?”
Adedeji continued: “Honestly, the list goes on. Having a black cast member speak on behalf of Hollyoaks to show that the work is being done is not as progressive as you think. As a matter of fact, very little is being done behind the scenes. Unfortunately Hollyoaks’ response seems to me performative and disingenuous. It starts within the work place. Systemic changes must be put into practice. Working at Hollyoaks is mostly postitive, but the experiences I have encountered are a constant reminder of how difficult is it being a black woman in the industry.
“I am no longer standing for it. Putting out a podcast on racism and asking your black cast members to teach you how to tackle these issues is the bare minimum. THINK. DO BETTER. I hope Hollyoaks delivers the same energy when #BlackLivesMatter is no longer trending.”
Adedeji has received support from some of her fellow Hollyoaks cast members, including Karl Collins, who wrote: “Well… it will come as no surprise that I love this woman who I affectionately call ‘darta’ I am so proudof her bravery! #speakyourtruth #noliestold #BlackLivesMatterUK #BlackLivesMatter.”
Ross Adams, Nadine Mulkerrin, Jacqualine Boatswain and Owen Warner all added their support to Adedeji.
Hollyoaks has since addressed Adedeji’s comments via their Instagram channel, with a post that read: “Hollyoaks has zero tolerance on racism. We are taking Rachel Adedeji’s comments extremely seriously and are investigating.”
RadioTimes.com has contacted Hollyoaks for comment on Rachel Adedeji’s post.
A spokesperson for the soap told Digital Spy on Friday 5th June: “We are really concerned to read Rachel’s comments on social media about Hollyoaks this evening. We will be in touch with Rachel directly.”