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Neighbours star Sharon Johal reveals she was upset by ‘tokenism’ in her scripts

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Neighbours star Sharon Johal reveals she was upset by 'tokenism' in her scripts

Sharon Johal has revealed she felt some of her scripts on long-running soap Neighbours were ‘tokenistic’. 

The 33-year-old told the Tia Maria One of a Kind podcast:  ‘Little things would happen, there would be tokenism within the scripts and I’m not a confrontational person, but I’ll do it if I need to.’

‘I tried to sort things out as they would happen in the best way possible,’ she added.

Tokens: Sharon Johal (pictured) has revealed she felt some of her scripts on long-running soap Neighbours were 'tokenistic'

Tokens: Sharon Johal (pictured) has revealed she felt some of her scripts on long-running soap Neighbours were 'tokenistic'

Tokens: Sharon Johal (pictured) has revealed she felt some of her scripts on long-running soap Neighbours were ‘tokenistic’

Sharon added that she felt pressure to be a good representative for Indian Punjabi cultural background. 

‘It was all this weight on my shoulders to represent the community accurately and properly because I was the first one and they made be this flag-bearer, even though I didn’t want that role,’ she said. 

It comes after the actress released a statement in April about her ‘painful’ four years on Neighbours, which included racial slurs, mocking comments and a colleague calling her a ‘c**t’ after she confronted them over an offensive remark.

Sharon, who played Dipi Rebecchi from 2017 until March, said: ‘The past week for me has been a traumatising, triggering and painful experience, with the resurfacing of compounded trauma I have tried to deny, bury, and ultimately, survive.’ 

She went on to allege that on more than one occasion, a current cast member (not a person of colour) directly referred to her as ‘you people’, while speaking in derogatory terms about an altercation they were involved in with an Indian person.

She says the same cast member repeatedly referred to her as ‘the black one’ and/or blackie’ behind her back while in the presence of crew members, and that the person claimed the show only employs Indian actors ‘to fill their diversity quota’.

Sharon says she communicated the comments to management, who were sympathetic and confronted the actor on one occasion to her knowledge – but the approach only caused her to become a target once again.

‘For example, it had been reported to me that a cast and crew member each called me a ‘c**t’ to another cast member after I confronted them over offensive comments,’ she alleged.

The star also claims a former cast member (not a person of colour) compared her to ‘a bobble-head toy’ accompanied by the comment, ‘Oh, it’s like you guys’ – referring to Indians.’

‘The same cast member repeatedly mimicked the Indian character Apu from the Simpsons with accompanying Indian accent and movement of head in my presence, despite me requesting they desist,’ she added.

In a statement in April, Fremantle’s Asia Pacific CEO Chris Oliver-Taylor said ‘all complaints are taken seriously and we are investigating all allegations fairly’.

‘Fremantle is committed to providing an environment where employees and others in the workplace are treated fairly and with respect, and are free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying,’ Mr Oliver-Taylor said.

‘We do not tolerate behaviour that does not align to our Anti-Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Harassment and Bullying Policy and take all complaints very seriously, investigating all allegations fairly and thoroughly.’

Claims: In a statement in April, Fremantle's Asia Pacific CEO Chris Oliver-Taylor said 'all complaints are taken seriously and we are investigating all allegations fairly'

Claims: In a statement in April, Fremantle's Asia Pacific CEO Chris Oliver-Taylor said 'all complaints are taken seriously and we are investigating all allegations fairly'

 Claims: In a statement in April, Fremantle’s Asia Pacific CEO Chris Oliver-Taylor said ‘all complaints are taken seriously and we are investigating all allegations fairly’

Neighbours star Sharon Johal reveals she was upset by 'tokenism' in her scriptsSource

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