Adedeji, who has appeared in more than 200 episodes of Hollyoaks, tweeted her disapproval of the show’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement and raised a laundry list of questions about her experiences of those of co-stars.
In her statement, she claimed that she was told “you’re all the same” by a make-up artist on the show, while she also said black cast members were referred to as “blackies” by a senior figure in the production team.
Adedeji claimed that female black actors were “forced to drastically change their hair” for fear that viewers “would not be able to tell them apart.” She also said she has only worked with one black director in four years on the show.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Others have supported Adedeji. Former Hollyoaks actress Amanda Clapham said she witnessed “microaggressions” on-set, including black cast members being “disproportionately told off” for talking and messing around during filming.
In a statement on Hollyoaks‘ official Instagram page over the weekend, producers said: “Hollyoaks has zero tolerance on racism. We are taking Rachel Adedeji extremely seriously and are investigating.” A Channel 4 spokeswoman added: “Hollyoaks has zero tolerance on racism and an investigation is underway.”
In related news on Monday, Channel 4 said Hollyoaks will resume production this week following the coronavirus shut down.
The broadcaster said: “Hollyoaks will be resuming production this week in Liverpool ahead of a return to recording on set in July. The Channel 4 drama, which is shot differently to other soaps with single-camera, will increase in episodes from its current two nights a week to four nights a week from September, the current plan being to return to five episodes in 2021.
“To safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all involved in the production of Hollyoaks, new work protocols will be in place. All cast and crew will attend a safety induction to familiarise themselves with the revised way of working prior to production re-starting.”