Former EastEnders star Katie Jarvis sentenced after admitting racial harassment

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Photo credit: Kieron McCarron - BBC
Photo credit: Kieron McCarron - BBC

Former EastEnders star Katie Jarvis has been sentenced to community service after admitting racial harassment in an incident from 2020.

The actress, who played Hayley Slater on the BBC One soap until 2019, was arrested a year later after an altercation in Southend, Essex.

As reported by BBC News, Basildon Crown Court heard about how someone from Jarvis' party tried to take a chair from a table where a woman, Michelle Antonio, was sat in a group. After being told that the chair was needed, a fight broke out.

Photo credit: Kieron McCarron - BBC
Photo credit: Kieron McCarron - BBC

Related: Former EastEnders star calls for changes to soap

Jarvis claimed that Antonio was "aggressive", which she denied, while the court also heard that Jarvis said "Black lives don't matter" and referred to herself as a "celebrity". The court then heard about how Jarvis spat at a doorman after she was denied entry to a hotel, which led to her arrest.

Antonio is quoted as saying that the comments made her "feel disgusted and angry", and that she "can't believe in 2020 these things are still being said".

The actress said that she was sorry for "the awful language on that day" and apologised to the doorman, admitting to racially aggravated harassment and common assault. She also maintained she "did not physically assault anyone that day".

It was noted in court that Jarvis did not drink very often, had no previous convictions as an adult, and was "subject to abuse on social media" due to being in the public eye.

In the end, she was sentenced to two years of community service, with 200 hours of unpaid work and 60 days of specified activities.

Photo credit: Jon Furniss/WireImage - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jon Furniss/WireImage - Getty Images

Related: Former EastEnders boss returns to soap as writer

Shortly after leaving EastEnders in 2019, Jarvis was the subject of tabloid reports about her working as a security guard at a discount supermarket. She said the reports left her "embarrassed" and "ashamed", but received much support from other actors who shared the non-acting jobs they did in between roles to support their families.

EastEnders airs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One and streams on BBC iPlayer.

Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage

If you've been affected by racism and racist hate crime, then organisations including the Equality and Advisory Support Service (EASS), the Monitoring Group, Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI) and Stop Hate UK are among those which can offer help and support.

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