Actress Shareena Clanton said she experienced “multiple racist traumas” while on set for the “Neighbors” soap opera.
- The actress said she heard “n-word” openly used on a set of soaps
- Clanton said she faced retaliation for talking about racism and misconduct
- Production company Fremantle Media said it participated in significant discussions with Clanton while she was on the show
Clanton, the wife of Wongath, Yamatji, Noongar and Gitja, said she was “lonely, initiating and traumatizing work in such a culturally insecure place”.
Clanton is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Doreen Anderson in the award-winning prison drama Wentworth, and she has starred in a number of other Australian productions.
In a post on social media, she said “overt and covert levels of racism were widespread” during her months of working for neighbors.
She said this included a white actor who called another actor in color a “lil’ monkey ”and two cases where the“ n-word ”was openly used.
She states she was told to “go somewhere else” when confronted by an actor who used that swear word “because I was making others uncomfortable.”
Other allegations include that the employee laughed at the sexual language and that a fellow actor laughed at the use of the word n, but then lied to HR about it.
Clanton said she broke off one professional relationship after she was “accepted / encouraged” as a “joke in the office” when an employee used the term “slave driver”.
The actor said she felt “ostracized and further marginalized” after the behavior was called out, and HR told her they were not sure what else they should do.
A spokesman for Fremantle Media, the production house behind the long-running soap, said there were “significant and lengthy discussions” during the show with Clanton.
“Neighbors strive to be a platform for diversity and inclusion on and off the screen,” a spokesman said.
“Our quest is always to continue to grow and develop in this area, and we recognize that this is an evolving process. Shareena’s involvement in the creative process and on filming has been invaluable and extremely educational and will benefit the series going forward.”
Clanton said she paid out of her own pocket for Elder Wurundjeri to be on set to ensure adherence to cultural protocols after she was told the production had no budget.
She did not name anyone directly in the Instagram post.
The Ten network, which broadcasts the show, directed ABC to Fremantle’s statement when they contacted her for comment.
A Fremantle spokesman said the production company would “continue to work with its team and team to ensure that neighbors continue to be a fully inclusive environment”.