Kiwi actor accuses Aussie TV network of racism

Kiwi actor Jay Laga'aia. File photo / NZ Herald
Kiwi actor Jay Laga'aia. File photo / NZ Herald

New Zealand actor Jay Laga'aia has accused Australian network Channel 7 of axing him from Home and Away because of his ethnicity.

Laga'aia, who is of Samoan descent, has backed comments from Underbelly actor Firass Dirani, who accused networks of a "white Australia" policy and that actors on shows such as Packed to the Rafters and Neighbours do not reflect Australian society in 2012.

"Hats off to you Firass Dirani, for a call to stop commercial network producers casting only white actors. Only on Australian screens. Shame!" Laga'aia wrote on Twitter last night.

Laga'aia then accused Channel 7 of writing out his Home and Away character because of his ethnicity. Laga'aia character, Reverend Elijah Johnson has been dating Leah Patterson-Baker, played by Cyprus-born Ada Nicodemou, on the long-running soap.

After 18 months he will leave the show in April. Laga'aia said this was because "they couldn't write two ethnics that weren't together".

A spokeswoman for Channel 7 rejected Laga'aia's claims.

'"He finished his role in the series because the storyline around his character reached a natural conclusion," she told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

- HERALD ONLINE

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 26 Jul 2014 15:35:16 Processing Time: 417ms