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Sacked Emmerdale star Shila Iqbal denies being homophobic

Precious Adesina April 23, 2019
Actress Shila Iqbal was fired from Emmerdale.

Actress Shila Iqbal was fired from Emmerdale for using racist and gay slurs online. (Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty)

Fired Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal has denied being a homophobe and apologised for racist and anti-gay slurs used on social media.

In an interview with The Sun on Sunday (April 21), the 24-year-old actress, who played Aiesha Richards, admitted the tweets she made in 2012, when she was only 18, were offensive.

“Going forward, the bosses could maybe think about talking to that individual properly and really understanding them and not taking immediate action.”

— Shila Iqbal

“Do not tweet me you gay,” one of the resurfaced social media posts said.”I know too many noisy n****s,” another said.

“I don’t condone the use of that language and those words, but what I will say is the surroundings and environment we grow up in does have an influence on our vocabulary,” Iqbal told The Sun.

“Within my group of friends, we used language and words like that freely, and never in a negative way. If anything, in an endearing way, if that makes sense?”

“It was the hip-hop and rap culture around us, the music that we listened to heavily influenced us and we didn’t know any different.”

Shila Iqbal was not expecting to be sacked for her words

Iqbal explained that she took responsibility for the tweets to Emmerdale bosses, but did not expect to be dismissed from the soap.

“Obviously now, six, seven years later, I look at that and I think, ‘How could you use language like that how could you not know?’ But I didn’t know any better,” she said.

Shila Iqbal thought she would be suspended from Emmerdale rather than fired.
Shila Iqbal thought she would be suspended from Emmerdale rather than fired. (Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty)

“I was expecting [a suspension] and I wanted them to do that. ITV have a moral obligation to protect the public and I get that. And that’s good to do that.”

But Iqbal also feels the choice to fire her may have unfairly ended her career.

“I can’t tell you how many panic attacks I’ve had and the constant feeling of anxiety and fear within you. I’m being branded as a homophobe and a racist and that’s very, very far from who I am as a person. That’s difficult to cope with,” she explained.

“It was easy for them to let go of me and I suppose make an example of me.”

“Going forward, the bosses could maybe think about talking to that individual properly and really understanding them and not taking immediate action.”

More: Anti-gay, Emmerdale, fired, Gay, racism, Shila Iqbal, Television

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