Hollyoaks cast speak out against ‘systemic racism’ in industry as they slam soap’s all-white production company – The Sun

HOLLYOAKS stars Richard Blackwood, Talia Grant and Trevor Toussaint have revealed their experiences of working on the Channel 4 soap and the "systemic racism" that is inherent in the television industry.

Talia, 18, who plays Brooke Hathaway, suggested that soap bosses often treat black cast members like they are "disposable".

Speaking on a special episode of the soap's Don't Filter Feelings podcast, Talia said: "It’s amazing that there is a black cast and there’s all of us and there is that diversity, but I can’t help but feel that sometimes in the industry and life in general, they treat black people like we’re disposable.

"They can capitalize off us without doing the real work behind the scenes."

She added: "The revolution will not be changed by diversity training or racism training. It will be changed by people changing their attitude, and the way the structural system works."

Richard, who stars as Felix Westwood in Hollyoaks, shared that he didn't feel black actors can "go in guns blazing but we are firing shots."

He added that it was important that they were "in the system, trying to change it."

Trevor also criticized the production company's all-white team, admitting that while they were "getting a lot of things right" there were still elements that made it so "people of colour do not feel they can apply to Lime for work."

"What is it that keeps those people out and when they are in, what is it that stops them from going up the ranks?” the actor who stars as Walter Deveraux said.

"Systemic racism exists in all stratas of society, and television is no exception to that. Lime, who I work for, is no exception to this."

However, the three actors also insisted that the podcast was not about “playing clean up” following Rachel Adedeji’s comments that the Channel 4 soap’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests was “performative and disingenuous."

“I am disappointed with Hollyoaks’ approach to showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement yesterday," she shared in early June.

She said: “Did Black Lives Matter when a number of female black actors were forced to drastically change their hair, because if not, the viewers ‘would not be able to tell them apart'? Do Black Lives really matter to you if over the last four years at Hollyoaks, I have only worked with one black director?”

Suggesting this was just scratching the surface, Rachel added: “Honestly, the list goes on.

“Having a black cast member speak on behalf of Hollyoaks to show that the work is being done is not as progessive as they think. As a matter of fact, very little is being done behind the scenes.”

In response to the podcast, Lime Pictures shared a statement that read: "Hollyoaks celebrates inclusivity on-screen and off; whilst we believe that is evident on screen, we recognise that we need to do more to increase and support inclusivity behind the camera, especially for black writers, directors and crew.

“We have significantly increased the number of writers of colour working on Hollyoaks, but we need to do more to support black writers in particular. We strive to overcome the significant barriers that black people face within our industry and through the New Writing North Hollyoaks Award, the Lime Interns Scheme, the Channel 4 Production Trainee Scheme and Lime’s own Networking and Workshop events we support up and coming TV talent with entry-level opportunities on Hollyoaks.

“We need to broaden and amplify these schemes to encourage and support new entrants from black backgrounds in particular and to nurture black creative talent at all levels within Lime.

"Lime’s Liverpool site has been integral in providing vital regional employment and will continue to do that together with endeavouring to be more representative and inclusive both behind the camera at Hollyoaks and at Lime Pictures across the board."

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