Actor Shareena Clanton (Wentworth, The Cry, Nowhere Boys, Redfern Now), has levelled allegations against Neighbours following a recent appearance on the 10 Peach soap.
“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 wrote on Instagram.
Amongst a list of claims were levels of racism disguised as “jokes,” use of the N-word in the cast green room, inappropriate language used off camera, and complaints around Human Resources following up those concerns. She also paid for the hiring of a Wurundjeri Elder for cultural protocols, but also fired her own management, claiming they didn’t adequately help.
Neighbours, which in recent years has hired Indigenous and LGBTQI performers and included a storyline over the debate around January 26, has acknowledged it needs to continue to evolve in this area.
A Fremantle spokesperson said in a statement, “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.”
In 2018 Screen Producers Australia & Live Performance Australia took steps to prevent workplace discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying. A Screen Industry Code was released to offer practical tools to create a safe and positive work environment for all workers.
Shareena Clanton makes her first appearance on Neighbours on Wednesday.
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.
To avoid any lawsuit by the production or a potential defamation case, I have not included any specific names and made it non-identifiable in what I’m about to reveal to you:
-A Head of Department thought it funny and appropriate to openly laugh at the word “cum slut” by a cast member who loudly spoke about “cum”, “cum”, “cum” in front of other cast and crew.
-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”.
-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”.
I’ll never work for this show again.
Updated: Actor Meyne Wyatt, who played Nate Kinski from 2014 – 2016, also referred to an incident of racism through social media. He further claimed homophobia was “rampant” on set through jokes and innuendo, saying “It made for a very unsafe environment for anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community and the shit needs to be stamped out. Racism and Homophobia needs an active and present force behind it to be driven out! Neighbours do better! The Film and TV Industry do better! Australia do better!”