Geordie Shore prodco Lime Pictures, a division of All3Media, has committed to “stamping out implicit bias” following allegations of racism stemming from the production of one of its soap operas.
The Liverpool-based production outfit has launched an investigation after British actress Rachel Adedeji alleged she witnessed racism on the Channel 4 drama Hollyoaks.
In a statement released via Twitter, Adedeji said a senior producer referred to black cast members using a racial slur and claimed black actresses were “forced to drastically change their hair” over concerns that audiences “would not be able to tell them apart.”
Adedeji added that despite appearing in more than 200 episodes of the drama over the course of four years, 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 noted. “I am no longer standing for it.”
In response, Lime Pictures said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the issues that have come to light. The company added that it “strives to have zero tolerance” of racism or discrimination on all of its productions, but “it is clear we have further work to do.”
The production company has launched a series of “next steps”, including addressing individual concerns with cast and staff members who have raised issues, and encouraging employees to come forward with additional concerns regarding “unacceptable behavior.”
Lime has also stated that it is working with unconscious bias trainers “to help address concerns raised by cast and staff”; ensuring that all BAME staff and freelancers are offered mentoring form senior management; reviewing all BAME writers and directors schemes to drive diversity; and launching an in-depth review of company and cast liaisons across Lime.
“We are very conscious that we need to do more and are committed to making changes that we need to make,” Lime Pictures added. “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.”
Lime’s unscripted productions include The Only Way is Essex, Geordie Shore, Celebs Go Dating, True Love or True Lies, Gemma Collins: Diva España, and #DatingNoFilter.