Kelly Burk (The Guardian)
One of Neighbours’ longstanding cast members has claimed she endured “direct, indirect and casual racism” on set, including racial slurs and mockery, saying the past four years starring in the long-running Australian soapie were “painful and problematic”.
In a detailed 1,500 word statement provided to Guardian Australia, Sharon Johal said she tried to “deny, bury and ultimately survive” racist taunts allegedly from some of her colleagues. She also claimed that the television show’s production company, Fremantle Media, failed to take any effective action to rein in the alleged behaviour and left her feeling powerless, isolated and marginalised.
Johal has since posted her full statement on her website via her social media pages.
Johal, who left the show last month after portraying the central character of Dipi Rebecchi on the Network 10 show since April 2017, alleged during her four-year tenure on the show she was repeatedly referred to as one of “you people” by another cast member when they referenced people of Indian descent.
Johal said she initially asked her colleague what was meant by “you people” and she was told “you know, Indians”.
Johal also alleges a crew member alerted her and her husband to the fact one cast member was repeatedly referring to her on set as “the black one” behind her back. The Guardian has spoken to this crew member who said “the black one” reference towards Johal was used on multiple occasions to “entertain” the Neighbours set, but never within earshot of Johal herself.
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