The actress, 24, was on today’s This Morning to explain what happened when bosses fired her for historic tweets that emerged earlier this month.
Shila, who was a teenager at the time and still at college, reportedly included the N-word in a tweet and used “gay” in a derogatory way.
Describing the moment she lost her dream job, Shila said: “I felt like I was dreaming. I do not condone the use of those words… for them to be there in front of me, I couldn’t believe it.
“I think, at the time, there was no malicious intent behind the tweets. It was a conversation, banter, between my group of friends.”
Speaking further, Shila said she believes she was “heavily influenced” by the hip-hop and rap music she and her friends listened to, but argued she didn’t understand the “true meaning and hurt” the words could cause.
Asked if she thought she’d been treated fairly, Shila admitted that while she respects the fact ITV had a “moral obligation” to act, she does wonder if it’s fair to be judged on something she did as a teenager.
She added: “If we do look at the context and the intentions, there was no negative intention behind there. I wasn’t hurling abuse at anyone. I made a mistake, and that is not who I am.”
This Morning viewers on Twitter didn’t appear to agree, calling on her to stop playing the victim and arguing that she was still an adult when she posted the tweets.
One said: “Cannot believe #ThisMorning is defending that Shila Iqbal. She blamed the hip-hop culture for the racist and homophobic tweets she sent at the grown age of 19! Maddddd.”
Another wrote: “Shila Iqbal, please stop acting like the victim.”
Someone else tweeted: “#ThisMorning Shila Iqbal’s sorry she got caught! Next!”
A fourth said: “I don’t agree with posting anything online unless you would say it to someone’s face in actual life. @Emmerdale’s Shila Iqbal is in the wrong for ever posting racist and homophobic tweets, even if it was six years ago, she needs to face punishment.”
Cannot believe #thismorning is defending that Shila Iqbal. She blamed the hiphop culture for the racist and homophobic tweets she sent at the grown age of 19! Maddddd
— CinnamoN (@Itskez_) April 23, 2019
Shila Iqbal please stop acting like the victim #thismorning
— whatamidoing (@eeeeekmylife) April 23, 2019
#ThisMorning Shila Iqbal's sorry she got caught! Next!!!
— Mark Smith (@TV_Mark2015) April 23, 2019
I don't agree with posting anything online unless you would say it to someone's face in actual life. @Emmerdale's Shila Iqbal is in the wrong for ever posting racist and homophobic tweets, even if it was six years ago she needs to face punishment.
— 🌸 AlishaValerie | Influencer (@AlishaValerie) April 23, 2019
Shila now wants to use the situation for good and raise awareness, among the younger generation, that their words have “a huge impact” on others.
Her Emmerdale character, Aiesha Richards, is being written out of the soap.
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