Some members of the Neighbours cast and crew have been accused of creating and perpetuating a toxic workplace by actress Shareena Clanton, who has spoken out about alleged “overt and covert racism” and virtue signalling she witnessed while working as a guest star on the long-running soap opera.
The proud Wongatha/Yamatji, Noongar/Gitja woman took to her Instagram early on Tuesday morning, saying that she “struggled to post anything positive” about her months on the Neighbours set, where she’s about to be introduced as the second Sheila Canning on Ramsay At.
Shareena alleged that the “highly problematic” workplace has resulted in her undertaking counselling to navigate the “racist trauma” she endured, and firing her former agent for allegedly encouraging the “office banter”.
In the post’s lengthy caption, Shareena claimed that a department head openly laughed at the word “cum slut”, senior staff joked about “slave drivers”, and that the n-word was used multiple times, both on-set and in the show’s green room.
Following the post, Shareena made further allegations about her experience on the Neighbours set in the comments, saying that although she continuously called out the behaviour happening off-camera on Ramsay St, nothing changed, the “culture of complicity” continued, leaving her feeling ostracised and further marginalised.
The script she refers to in the Jan 26 episode.
— v i c t o r i a ✌???????????? (@NeighboursNerd) April 5, 2021
Shareena also alleged that she actively helped the Neighbours team re-write the script for the episode around January 26, but never received a writing credit for her work, accusing the show of virtue signalling around Indigenous issues.
She also claimed she pushed hard for a Wurundjeri Elder to be included in the team for cultural safety, protocols, and debriefing, only to be told the show didn’t have the budget, resulting in her paying the Elder out of her own pocket.
As per TV Blackbox, Ten’s former Drama Executive Dan Bennett said he finds the story “hard to reconcile” but believes these claims will be investigated thoroughly.
“I know and respect the people at Neighbours (not all, obviously, but many),” he said.
“I’m finding this story hard to reconcile. But I am beyond convinced it will be investigated to the fullest, and that every and all appropriate actions [are] taken.”
A spokesperson from Fremantle, the production company behind Neighbours, that the team has had “significant and lengthy discussions” with Shareena about inclusivity at the soap.
“Shareena’s involvement in the creative process and onset was invaluable and hugely educational and will benefit the series moving forward,” the spokesperson said.
“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.”
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