All3Media-owned production company Lime Pictures has promised to “stamp out implicit bias” after actress Rachel Adedeji raised questions about the treatment of black cast members on Channel 4’s UK soap Hollyoaks.
In a statement on Tuesday, Lime said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the issues raised by Adedeji and others in recent days, and added: “Lime Pictures strives to have zero tolerance of racism or any form of discrimination across all of its shows but it is clear we have further work to do.”
Lime previously said it is investigating the claims and it has now drawn up an action plan to tackle the questions raised. This includes:
- Speaking to individual cast and crew to address their specific concerns
- Requesting that staff come forward with other concerns or “instances of unacceptable behaviour”
- Working with unconscious bias trainers
- Pledging that all BAME staff and freelancers will be offered mentoring from Lime’s senior management
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Lime added: “We are very conscious that we need to do more and are committed to making changes that we need to make. The onus is upon our company collectively and us all as individuals within our community to tackle racism, and it is a responsibility which all of us here at Hollyoaks are taking on fully.”
In a tweet over the weekend, Adedeji claimed that she was told “you’re all the same” by a make-up artist on Hollyoaks, while she also said black cast members were referred to as “blackies” by a senior figure in the production team.
Adedeji said 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 added.