Neighbours

Neighbours actress Sharon Johal has spoken out following shocking allegations of racism

''I have tried to deny, bury and ultimately, survive.''

Australian soap Neighbours sparked controversy last week when two Indigenous actors came forward to make shocking allegations of racism against the show.
Shareena Clanton, who will appear in an upcoming guest role on the long-running soap, took to Instagram to allege she experienced racism while on set and vowed to never work for the show again.
In the wake of her allegations, Meyne Wyatt, who played Nate Kinski from 2014 to 2016, appeared to support her claims and added his own experiences on the Neighbours set.
Shareena was the first to come forward. (Instagram)
Now, following continued outrage and reports, one of the show's biggest stars, Sharon Johal, has also come forward.
The actress, who played Dipi Rebecchi on the series from 2017 to 2021, shared an emotional and distressing essay about her experience.
"I've been heartbroken to learn that that not one, but two of our First Nations actors from Wongatha/Yamatji and Noongar/Gita Country have shared their experience of racism at my former workplace, Neighbours (of which I am expected to return as a guest performer in the coming weeks)," Sharon began.
"The past week for me has been a traumatising, triggering and painful experience, with the re-surfacing of compounded trauma I have tried to deny, bury and ultimately, survive."
"Having worked on Neighbours for the last four years and being one of the few people of colour to be employed as a series regular in it's 36 year history, I have been asked by many, and feel an obligation to, to share my experiences."
Sharon's experience echoes that of her co-stars. (Instagram)
While she noted many cast and crew have worked to support minorities, she also highlighted some of the disturbing experiences she faced while working on the production.
"This iconic show which has been a wonderful training ground for cast and crew alike and there are many people at Neighbours who are genuinely working behind the scenes to support minorities as much as they can in their respective positions.
"In saying this, my experience on Neighbours has also been painful and problematic."
She then went on to specifically detail the offensive language used against her.
"On more than one occasion a [non-POC employee] directly referred to me as "you people" when speaking in derogatory terms about an altercation they were involved in with an Indian person.
"The same person repeatedly referred to me as "the black one" and/or "blackie" behind my back in the presence of other crew members. I have been told that the same cast member also repeatedly claims that the show only employs "Indian actors" and diverse actors of colour to "fill their diversity quotas" and "not because they are any good"."
Sharon left the show early this year. (Instagram)
This isn't the only horrifying allegation Sharon makes, detailing further instances in her full statement.
As more and more actors come forward to share their own experiences and stories we can only hope this will finally be enough to spark change when it comes to not only diversity in television but acceptance and respect in the wider community.
Channel Ten has been contacted for comment, and issued a statement from production company Freemantle: "We remain committed to ensuring a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees on the set of Neighbours and take very seriously any questions about racism or any other form of discrimination.
"We are engaging an independent legal investigation to work concurrently with Campfire X's cultural review and hope to work directly with the individuals that have raised concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps are appropriate."
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