Rachel Adedeji is best known for her appearances on the X Factor and Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks. Earlier this month, as the racism debate sparked by the murder of George Floyd in America began to grow, Rachel Adedeji spoke about her experiences. During her time on the show, she mentioned several incidents underpinned by racism towards black actresses. While describing her time on the show as “mostly positive,” she described certain experiences as “a constant reminder of how difficult it is being a black woman in the industry.” Citing an incident in which a make-up artist declared all black women to be the same, and black women being forced to drastically change their hairstyles in order to be distinguishable from one another, Adedeji proclaimed, “I’m no longer standing for it.”
Since the actress’ revelations, a major racism row has torn apart the Hollyoaks cast. In a bitter exchange which played out on Twitter, Adedeji called out co-star Lysette Anthony. In a private WhatsApp group comprised of Hollyoaks cast members, Anthony described fellow actors who supported Adedeji as having a “traitor vibe going on.” The excerpt was shared by Charlie Clapham, a former Hollyoaks cast member. 56-year-old Lysette Anthony who has played Marnie Nightingale since 2016 quit the show in the wake of the highly public and bitter race row.
In a written statement, Lime Pictures, who produce the show declared: “Hollyoaks has been deeply shocked and saddened by issues that have been brought to our attention over the weekend. Lime Pictures strives to have zero tolerance of racism or any form of discrimination across all of its shows but it is clear we have further work to do. We must stamp out implicit bias which means calling out racism wherever and whenever we see it. We will continue to add to our action plan as we continue and broaden our dialogue with cast and staff.”