Neighbours has issued a statement after newcomer Shareena Clanton said she had experienced multiple incidents of racism while working on the Australian soap.
Clanton posted on Instagram yesterday (Monday 5th April) to reveal that she was “struggling to post anything positive” about the months she had spent on set, adding that her time on the show had been “lonely, triggering and traumatising”.
She outlined a number of incidents – including several instances where she said racial slurs had been used – and concluded she would “never work for this show again”.
Among the incidents highlighted were the soap’s refusal to pay for a Wurundjeri Elder to act as a consultant, a senior staff member laughing at the term ‘slave driver’ and multiple uses of the N-word on set and in the green room.
Clanton added, “The retaliation for calling out this misconduct and racism often left me ostracised and further marginalised.”
In response, Neighbours has released a statement saying the soap “strives to be a platform for diversity and inclusion on-screen and off-screen”.
The statement continues, “Our quest is always to continue to grow and develop in this area and we acknowledge that this is an evolving process.
“Shareena’s involvement in the creative process and on set was invaluable and hugely educational and will benefit the series moving forward.
“There have been significant and lengthy discussions with Shareena during her time on Neighbours and we will continue to work with all cast and crew to ensure Neighbours continues to be a fully inclusive environment.”
Channel 5 also issued a statement, with a spokesperson saying: “Channel 5 condemns racism and takes all allegations of discrimination seriously. We work closely alongside all of our production partners to foster inclusive working environments and will work with Fremantle to ensure Neighbours continues to adopt a fully inclusive and diverse working environment for all cast and crew.”
Clanton, whose previous credits include main roles on dramas such as Wentworth and The Cry, recently joined the cast of the soap as a second character called Sheila Canning, and her scenes will air in the UK in the next month.