Homophobia and racism is ‘f**king rampant’ on set of Neighbours, actors claim
Two former Neighbours cast members have called out the “rampant” racism and homophobia on the set of Australia’s longest-running TV drama.
The allegations first emerged on Tuesday (6 April) when guest actor Shareena Clanton said her six-week stint on Ramsay Street was marred by “multiple racist traumas” that have required ongoing counselling.
Clanton said that the N-word was openly used on the set, that she heard a staff member use the term “slave driver” and witnessed a “white actress openly calling another actress of colour a ‘lil’ monkey'”.
As Clanton faced a torrent of abuse for coming forward, Aboriginal actor Meyne Wyatt stepped in to share his own experiences of racism as a series regular between 2014 and 2016.
“It involved the C-word and I called it out and it didn’t happen around me again. Though I did walk in on this incident? So I have no doubt things were being said behind my back. I have too much experience to believe otherwise,” he wrote in a Twitter thread.
“And on top of that, the homophobia that was present while I was on Neighbours was f**king rampant,” he continued. “The comments and jokes and innuendos were ridiculous!
“It made for a very unsafe environment for anyone in the LGBT+ community and the sh*t needs to be stamped out. Racism and homophobia needs an active and present force behind it to be driven out!”
It made for a very unsafe environment for anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community and the shit needs to be stamped out. Racism and Homophobia needs an active and present force behind it to be driven out! Neighbours do better! The Film and TV Industry do better! Australia do better!
— Meyne Wyatt (@meynewyatt) April 6, 2021
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Responding to the growing scandal, the show’s producer Fremantle Media stated its commitment to to diversity and inclusion.
“Neighbours strives to be a platform for diversity and inclusion on-screen and off-screen. Our quest is always to continue to grow and develop in this area and we acknowledge that this is an evolving process,” a spokesperson told the BBC.
Fremantle Media did not address Wyatt’s remarks but said Clanton’s involvement on the show was “hugely educational and will benefit the series moving forward”.
“There have been significant and lengthy discussions with Shareena during her time on Neighbours and we will continue to work with all cast and crew to ensure Neighbours continues to be a fully inclusive environment,” they said.
A spokesperson for Channel 5, which airs the soap in the UK, added that it “condemns racism and takes all allegations of discrimination seriously”.