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Neighbours star Shareena Clanton has taken to Instagram claiming she endured "multiple racist traumas" during her time on the iconic soap.
Shareena, who is of Wangatha, Yamatji, Noongar and Gidja descent, shared a lengthy post about her time on the "highly problematic" show, saying she'd sought counselling after finishing up.
"Struggling to post anything positive about the months I endured on @neighbours after multiple racist traumas and navigating ongoing counselling from this highly problematic show," the 30-year-old wrote on Instagram. "It’s been lonely, triggering and traumatising to work in such a culturally unsafe space."
Shareena spoke of a number of encounters that allegedly took place on set, including having to pay a Wurundjeri Elder to have on set for "cultural safety" out of her own pocket, as the show refused to cover it.
"Due to my insistence of engaging a Wurundjeri Elder to be included for ongoing cultural safety reasons like cultural protocols followed and debriefing, I was told 'this is not a film production, Shareena.' And that 'we simply don’t have the budget'." she wrote. "The humble few hundred dollars a week Aunty and I proposed was in contrast to the thousands of dollars actors were receiving each pay. I paid Aunty directly out of my own income to make up for this 'lack of budget'."
"A senior staff member openly laughed whilst using the term 'slave driver' in reference to him 'working hard'. My management at the time didn’t help as they endorsed/encouraged this 'office banter'. I fired the agent," the actress wrote.
She added: "Overt and covert levels of racism were rife, often disguised as 'jokes' like a white actress openly calling another actress of colour a 'lil’ monkey'.
"Twice I endured the 'N'-word openly being used on-set and in the green room. I was even told to 'go somewhere else' by staff when confronting the actor directly because I was making others 'uncomfortable'.
"A white actress openly laughed at the racist 'N'-word to only lie about laughing about it when questioned by HR. She said that I 'misconstrued' what she was 'laughing at' and that she was laughing at 'something else'. That is a blatant lie.
"The retaliation for calling out this misconduct and racism often left me ostracised and further marginalised. In what was meant to have HR follow up and discuss this led to them saying they were unsure of 'what else they could do'."
She finished by saying, "I'll never work for this show again."
The actress received over two hundred comments of support with rapper Barkaa writing, "So sorry you had to go through this sis, thankful for you speaking your truth because it inspires us to speak ours. Standing with you always."
Another user wrote, "Speak the truth and you give us all permission to speak it louder. Grateful you have called it out and know you have allies in so many of us."
"I am so sorry you had to endure this. Thank you so much for sharing and using your voice for all of the people who can’t," someone else added.
According to Digital Spy, Shareena will play a character named Sheila in upcoming episodes of the show.
Shareena's Sheila encounters Colette Mann's character of the same name with drama quickly ensuing.
Former Network Drama Executive at Ten, Dan Bennett, told TV Blackbox, "I know and respect the people at #Neighbours (not all, obviously, but many). 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 taken."
A spokesperson from Fremantle told the publication, "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.
"Shareena’s involvement in the creative process and on set was invaluable and 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."
Actress Sharon Johal has also previously spoken out about experiencing racism after appearing on the show.
"When I arrived on Neighbours, albeit feeling like an imposter, I was pleasantly surprised. There was a young female producer in charge and an Asian actor on set who formed one half of a gay couple. Diversity at last!" she told Stellar.
"My presence as a person of full Indian heritage was huge, and forming part of an interracial relationship with interracial children was a first.
"Despite these positive developments, I came to understand that I couldn’t escape racism, not even on Australia’s most famous street. I’m incessantly trolled on social media and sometimes even in public, with people saying things like 'go back to your country' and 'you and your filthy children need to leave Ramsay Street.'"
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