Hollyoaks has launched an investigation after Rachel Adedeji alleged she witnessed racism on the soap.
The actress said a senior producer referred to black cast members using a racial slur and claimed black actresses were told to change their hair.
A statement posted on the show’s Instagram page said: “Hollyoaks has zero tolerance on racism.
“We are taking Rachel Adedeji’s comments extremely seriously and are investigating.”
On Saturday, Adedeji tweeted several claims about her experiences on the Channel 4 soap, which is produced by Lime Pictures.
The actress said she was told “You’re all the same” by a make-up artist, and said black actresses on the show were “forced to drastically change their hair” after being told viewers wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.
Adedeji, has appeared in more than 200 episodes of the show, but said in her four years on the soap she had only worked with one black director.
“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,” Adedeji said. “I am no longer standing for it.”
Her comments follow the Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Former Hollyoaks star Amanda Clapham supported Adedeji on Twitter, saying she witnessed “micro-aggressions” towards BAME staff on the show.
Clapham alleged one male black cast member was “disproportionately told off” for talking and messing around during filming, when a whole group of actors had been involved.
Andrea Ali, who plays Celeste Faroe, supported Adedeji but praised the soap’s efforts on representation.
“I am beyond blessed to be a part of a team as diverse and as inclusive as Hollyoaks,” Ali said.
“Celeste Faroe is a powerhouse and that representation of black women is not only one that I am proud of, but one that matters.”
Last week, Hollyoaks announced it would address the Black Lives Matter movement by recording a series of special podcasts about racism.
At the time, actress Kéllé Bryan said: “We’ve been busy behind the scenes having lots of highly important conversations and we’ll be kick-starting with a podcast all about racism – how we tackle it, how we face it and, most importantly, how we overcome it.”
But in her statement, Adedeji said: “Putting out a podcast and asking your black cast members to teach you how to tackle these issues is the bare minimum. Do better.”
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On Monday’s Loose Women, Bryan addressed the backlash she’d received from the podcast announcement, but said there was no bad blood between herself and Adedeji.
“Myself and Rachel have spoken and we have shared our feelings… I’m supporting her and she’s reached out to me also. We’ll just work through this, hopefully, internally.
“She meant no harm in her post in terms of me personally.”
In a statement to the ITV daytime show, Hollyoaks said: “Lime Pictures has a zero tolerance approach to racism, in line with our commitment to do the right thing, we will review the matters that have been reported.”
The BBC has contacted Lime Pictures for further comment.
Hollyoaks is set to resume production in Liverpool this week, with the cast expected back on set in July.
Adedeji first shot to fame as an X Factor finalist in 2009, finishing in ninth place. She joined Hollyoaks in 2016.
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