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Saturday 4th July 2020

Hollyoaks launches investigation after accusations of racism behind the scenes

The soap has committed to taking the claims very seriously

Hollyoaks has launched an investigation after one of its stars Rachel Adedeji made allegations of racism behind the scenes.

Earlier this week, the Channel 4 soap shared a video on social media of cast member Kelle Bryan (Martine Deveraux) supporting #BlackLivesMatter.

This followed the death of African American George Floyd, who was murdered by a white officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes after his was detained on suspicion of a minor offence.

His death has resulted in protests across the globe. On Tuesday many famous faces joined #blackouttuesday - posting nothing but a blackout picture on social media to observe, mourn and bring about policy change.

In Hollyoaks' video, Kelle said there had been "lots of important conversations" behind the scenes at the soap.

Rachel Adedeji responded to Hollyoaks #BlackLivesMatter message (Credit: Shutterstock)

Rachel, who plays Lisa Loveday, responded: "I am disappointed with Hollyoaks’ approach with showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement yesterday.

"Did black lives matter when I was told, 'You’re all the same,' via a make-up artist you employed and remains in employment to 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 castmates are deemed 'angry, aggressive and too vocal?'

"Did Black Lives Matter when referred to as '[bleep]' 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?

"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 they 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 workplace. Systemic changes must be put into practice.

"Working at Hollyoaks is mostly positive, but the experiences I have encountered are a constant reminder of how difficult it is being a black woman in the industry.

"I am no longer standing for it. Putting out a podcast on racism and asking your black members to teach you how to tackle racism is the bare minimum.

"THINK. DO BETTER. I hope Hollyoaks delivers the same energy when #BlackLivesMatter is no longer trending."

The soap responded, confirming that it will look very carefully into Rachel's allegations.

A statement shared on the Hollyoaks' Twitter page said: "Hollyoaks has zero tolerance on racism.

"We are taking Rachel Adedeji’s comments extremely seriously and are investigating.’

"It was posted alongside the message: 'A statement from Hollyoaks.'"

Rachel's statement has been supported by fellow stars of the popular soap.

Nadine Mulkerrin - Cleo McQueen -  wrote: "I love you darling."

Nadine Mulkerrin sent her love to co-star Rachel (Credit: Splash)

Karl Collins, who plays Rachel's on-screen dad Louis Loveday, replied: ‘Well….. it will come as no surprise that I love this woman who I affectionately call 'darta'.

"I am so proud of her bravery! #speakyourtruth @RachelASongs #noliestold #BlackLivesMatterUK #BlackLivesMatter.’

Ross Adams, who plays Scott Drinkwell, wrote: "Sending you love, respect and solidarity.

"I commit to doing better, to educate myself and to stand by anyone facing discrimination anywhere."

Following Rachel's message, a former writer has also made allegations.

View this post on Instagram

I debated whether to share this or not, because I know now is not the time for white voices and opinions. I asked myself whether it was performative. Let me be clear that what I’m sharing is in no way deserving of a pat on the back. I did the wrong thing, and I have zero to lose here, unlike @racheladedeji or Matthew. And yet I‘m still scared, because looking at the racist structures that reside within me, and all the ways I benefit from white supremacy, has been sickening and ugly. However I also know it’s important not to stay silent, and it’s better to try and fail than not to try at all. So I’m here amplifying Rachel and Matthew's voices, and standing with them on the issue of racism at Hollyoaks. I personally witnessed racism during my time at Hollyoaks, and saw it cost a talented director her job. I decided I was leaving around that time, and that I would write a letter to the head of Lime Pictures about it (along with a whole lot of other bs that went down there) once I’d left. The director asked me to speak up with her at the time, but I said I felt more comfortable sending a letter in a few weeks, once I was out of there. I can make a lot of excuses as to why I did this - I was scared, I didn’t want to make it awkward for myself to be there, I didn’t want to get fired, I was pregnant, I had been bullied there and it didn’t feel safe etc etc etc. I didn’t see how wrong it was to centre my own comfort in that situation. I didn’t see that it was a privilege to make the choice to stay silent while a POC lost their job and was asking me to stand with them. I didn’t see how I was using racism to make my own case, instead of honouring the needs of the person being victimised. I’m hoping it’s not too late to do the right thing. I’ve been back in touch with the head of Lime Pictures, following up on my letter and demanding more than token apologies and unfulfilled promises. Systemic change is needed - a podcast is not going to cut it @hollyoaksofficial For any other white folks who have witnessed racism in the workplace, I urge you to speak up. Continued in comments ⬇️

A post shared by Claire Hanrahan (@clairehanrahan) on

Claire Hanrahan wrote on Instagram: "I debated whether to share this or not, because I know now is not the time for white voices and opinions.

"I asked myself whether it was performative. Let me be clear that what I'm sharing is in no way deserving of a pat on the back.

"I did the wrong thing, and I have zero to lose here, unlike Rachel or Matthew.

"And yet I'm still scared, because looking at the racist structures that reside within me, and all the ways I benefit from white supremacy, has been sickening and ugly.

"However I also know it's important not to stay silent, and it's better to try and fail than not to try at all.

"So I'm here amplifying Rachel and Matthew's voices, and standing with them on the issue of racism at Hollyoaks.

"I personally witnessed racism during my time at Hollyoaks, and saw it cost a talented director her job.

"I decided I was leaving around that time, and that I would write a letter to the head of Lime Pictures about it (along with a whole lot of other bs that went down there) once I'd left.

"The director asked me to speak up with her at the time, but I said I felt more comfortable sending a letter in a few weeks, once I was out of there.

"I can make a lot of excuses as to why I did this - I was scared, I didn't want to make it awkward for myself to be there, I didn't want to get fired, I was pregnant, I had been bullied there and it didn't feel safe etc etc etc.

"I didn't see how wrong it was to centre my own comfort in that situation. I didn't see that it was a privilege to make the choice to stay silent while a POC lost their job and was asking me to stand with them.

"I didn't see how I was using racism to make my own case, instead of honouring the needs of the person being victimised.

"I'm hoping it's not too late to do the right thing. I've been back in touch with the head of Lime Pictures, following up on my letter and demanding more than token apologies and unfulfilled promises.

"Systemic change is needed - a podcast is not going to cut it @hollyoaksofficial

"For any other white folks who have witnessed racism in the workplace, I urge you to speak up."

Hollyoaks has also responded to Claire's statement, saying: "Lime pictures has a zero tolerance approach to racism.

"Claire Hanrahan was employed in the script and story department at Hollyoaks from between 2016 and 2017.

"Shortly after leaving Lime's employment, Claire sent a formal complaint to the producers in December 2017.

"A full and thorough investigation was undertaken at the time and a detailed response to Claire's complaint was given in January 2018 and she was invited to provide more information about her complaint.

"No further correspondence was received from Claire until this week. In line with our commitment to do the right thing we will review this matter."

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