Hollyoaks has revealed all staff will be given “unconscious bias” training as part of its efforts to tackle racism.
The Channel 4 soap is taking direct action following the revelations of star Rachel Adedeji of experiencing racism on set, including producing a podcast in which Hollyoaks’ black cast members will share their own experiences with racism.
Production company Lime Pictures said in a statement: “Hollyoaks has been deeply shocked and saddened by issues that have been brought to our attention. Lime Pictures strives to have zero tolerance of racism or any form of discrimination across all of its shows but it is clear we have further work to do. We must stamp out implicit bias which means calling out racism wherever and whenever we see it.”
Producers vowed to tackled racism as they revealed they are taking immediate action.
The statement continued: “We are reaching out to all of our cast and staff that have raised matters to make sure that we address individual issues and concerns.
“We have asked all cast, staff and freelancers to share with us any further issues of concern or instances of unacceptable behaviour that they have not previously raised.
“We are working with unconscious bias trainers to augment Lime’s all staff training to help address concerns raised by cast and staff.
“All BAME staff, freelancers and cast will be offered mentoring from Lime’s senior management.
“We will build on our work towards making Lime as diverse and inclusive as possible across all aspects of recruitment and talent retention, on and off screen.
“Lime’s BAME writers and directors schemes will be reviewed and augmented to drive greater inclusivity within the industry.
“We are undertaking an immediate and in depth review of company and cast liaison across Lime.”
Adedeji , 28, has played Lisa Loveday in the soap since 2016.
My thoughts on the Hollyoaks response to Black Lives Matter pic.twitter.com/jvOxzCQkl0— Rachel Adedeji (@RachelASongs) June 5, 2020
The actress took exception when the show posted comments supporting the Black Lives Matter movement that she labelled “disingenuous”.
Posting on social media, the actress highlighted incidents of racism she had been subject and witness to while working on the show, including being told “you’re all the same” by a make-up artist, and claimed black cast members were referred to as “blackies” by a member of the production team.
She also pointed out that she worked with only one black director in four years on the show.
Amanda Clapham, who played character Holly Cunningham on the soap, offered her support to Adedeji by posting an open letter to senior Hollyoaks staff on Twitter.
An open letter that I have sent to the senior members of staff at Hollyoaks in support of Black Lives Matter, friends and colleagues. pic.twitter.com/ff1gBVypae— Amanda Clapham (@amandaclapham) June 7, 2020
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Meanwhile, it has been revealed the soap is to resume filming next month, with social distancing measure in place, following its hiatus during the coronavirus lockdown.
A Channel 4 spokesperson: “Hollyoaks will be resuming production this week in Liverpool ahead of a return to recording on set in July. The Channel 4 drama, which is shot differently to other soaps with single-camera, will increase in episodes from its current two nights a week to four nights a week from September, the current plan being to return to five episodes in 2021.
“To safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all involved in the production of Hollyoaks, new work protocols will be in place.”