The actor at the center of a row over alleged racism behind the scenes at British soap opera “Hollyoaks” has quit the show, it has emerged.
However, representatives for both the actor, who played Lisa Loveday, and the show’s producer, Lime Pictures, deny there was a link between her departure and her complaints about racism.
The scenes leading up to Lisa Loveday’s exit from the show were shot before the lockdown, and will be aired later this year.
A spokesperson for “Hollyoaks” said: “Rachel made the decision to leave ‘Hollyoaks’ to pursue other opportunities earlier last year, which saddened us at ‘Hollyoaks’ as she is one of the leading cast members in the show. However, the notice period did allow the writers time to give Lisa Loveday an extremely gripping exit storyline. Viewers will see this story play out later this year as her final scenes were filmed shortly before lockdown.”
Adedeji’s spokesperson added: “It had always been our intention for Rachel to leave the show after a period of time. She loved her time on ‘Hollyoaks’ and the exit storyline was openly discussed with the producers and her together, in a collaborative format.”
Lime Pictures said Tuesday it had launched an investigation into alleged racism on the show.
Adedeji, who has appeared in “Hollyoaks” since 2016, posted a statement on social media last week about her time on the soap. She claims she was once told “you’re all the same” by a make-up artist, and that black female actresses were told to drastically change their hair because otherwise viewers “would not be able to tell them apart.”
Adedeji has appeared in more than 200 episodes of the show, but said in her four years on the soap she had only worked with one black director.
“Working at ‘Hollyoaks’ is mostly positive, but the experiences I have encountered are a constant reminder of how difficult it is being a black woman in the industry,” Adedeji said. “I am no longer standing for it.”
In a statement Tuesday, Lime Pictures said: “’Hollyoaks’ has been deeply shocked and saddened by issues that have been brought to our attention over the weekend.”
The production company said it has “zero tolerance on racism” but has “further work to do.”
Lime Pictures said it is setting out a number of next steps, which include:
- Reaching out to all cast and staff that have raised matters to address individual issues and concerns
- Asking all cast, staff and freelancers to share any further issues of concern or instances of unacceptable behavior they have not previously raised
- Working with unconscious bias trainers
- BAME [Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic] staff, freelancers and cast to be offered mentoring from Lime’s senior management
- Reviewing BAME writers and directors schemes
- An in-depth review of company and cast liaisons across Lime
Lime Pictures, which is owned by All3Media, added: “We are very conscious that we need to do more and are committed to making changes that we need to make. The onus is upon our company collectively and us all as individuals within our community to tackle racism, and it is a responsibility which all of us here at ‘Hollyoaks’ are taking on fully.”