Albertina Lloyd·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UKWed, 7 April 2021, 9:57 am
Neighbours has been accused of “silent complicity” in on-set racism after an actor’s complaints were dismissed.
Wentworth star Shareen Clanton played a guest role in the long-running Australian soap during January and February this year.
She alleges that after she formerly complained to Human Resources about racist behaviour, production company Fremantle’s solution was to make segregated green rooms in order to separate the fractious members of cast and crew.
Clanton told The Guardian Australia: “There was a lot of commentary that was highly inflammatory, sexist, misogynistic, crass and crude – the kind of comments that if I were to make in any other workspace would absolutely [result in] instant dismissal.
“But somehow people just continued to get a gentle word spoken to them, or have a polite side word between [the alleged perpetrator] and the person who was offended by what was being said.”
The Perth-born actor – who is of Indigenous Australian descent – claimed she objected when a cast member used the “n” word, but another colleague defended them, arguing the word was commonly used in popular culture.
Clanton said: “A staff member then turned to me and told me that I needed to take it somewhere else, because I was making other people uncomfortable.”
The actor said after the alleged cast member used the racist term again they were spoken to, temporarily removed from the set and ordered to attend cultural training. It is not known if this training was in-house or run by an independent body.To view this content, you’ll need to update your privacy settings.Please click here to do so.
Clanton said she felt speaking out was likely to have a negative impact on her career.
Adding: “But I think for me, it is not unreasonable to speak about these individual experiences, because they form part of a collective of toxic work environments.
“It’s no longer [about] protecting individuals or a workplace environment or a production house that has various levels of complicity and [continues to allow] unhealthy, toxic workplace conduct that would just not be tolerated anywhere outside the film industry.”
Fremantle said in a statement: “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.”
Neighbours star Meyne Wyatt – who played Nate Kinski in the soap – has now also spoken out on Twitter to allege that he witnessed racism and homophobia on set.
He said: “I was a series regular on Neighbours between 2014 to 2016 and I experienced Racism on set. It involved the C word and I called it out and it didn’t happen around me again. Though I did walk in on this incident? so I have no doubt things were being said behind my back.To view this content, you’ll need to update your privacy settings.Please click here to do so.
“It saves time from me calling you a racist and humiliating you, if you don’t do shit the first place! And on top of that, the Homophobia that was present whilst I was on Neighbours, was f***ing rampant! The comments and jokes and innuendos were ridiculous!
“It made for a very unsafe environment for anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community and the shit needs to be stamped out. Racism and Homophobia needs an active and present force behind it to be driven out! Neighbours do better! The Film and TV Industry do better! Australia do better!”
Neighbours – which airs on Channel 5 in the UK – has been running 35 years.
THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN RACISM IN AUSTRALIA WHICH HAS LONG BEEN ROOTED BECAUSE IT IS A CULTURE WHERE BLACK AND WHITES DON’T USUALLY MIX!!! HOW MANY TIMES HAVE THEY MISTREATED THE ABORIGINES? IT WILL NOT SURPRISE ME THAT THERE WOULD BE RACISM ON NEIGHBOURS & EVEN HOME AND AWAY.