Neighbours star Shareena Clanton says she endured "multiple racist traumas" on the set of the iconic Channel 10 show, including the "N-word" being used several times by other actors.
Wongatha, Yamatji and Noongar, Gitja woman Clanton shared a lengthy post on Instagram today revealing she has sought counselling following her time on the "highly problematic" show.
Clanton, who did not list any names in her post, said she approached the HR department following several incidents involving fellow cast members, but little action was taken.
She explains she was instead "ostracised and further marginalised" for calling out her colleagues.
"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. It's been lonely, triggering and traumatising to work in such a culturally unsafe space," she began.
The Wentworth star went on to list in dot-point form seven incidents which occurred during filming.
She also shared than upon requesting a Wurundjeri Elder to be present on set to ensure "ongoing cultural safety", she was told Channel 10's budget would not cover it, so paid out of her own pocket.
"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'. 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'," she wrote.
- "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.
- 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 concluded her post by adding: "I'll never work for this show again."
The statement has garnered more than 1400 likes as of this morning, with a number of followers thanking Clanton for her courage.
Clanton will portray a character named Sheila in upcoming episodes of Neighbours, according to Digital Spy.
Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson from Fremantle told news.com.au: "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."
The network's former Drama Executive, Dan Bennett, also 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."
Clanton's allegations are not the first instances of racism linked to the long-running series.
In February, actress Sharon Johal, who has played Dipi Rebecchi for four years, wrote a piece for Stellar Magazine in which she claimed fans of the television program would yell racist insults to her on the street.
In it, she praised the program for its diversity but added that she "couldn't escape" racism even on Ramsay Street.
"When I arrived on Neighbours, albeit feeling like an impostor, 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 wrote.
"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"," she wrote.