It has been announced that Rachel Adedeji will be leaving Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.
The news comes after the actor publicly criticised the show’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement as she said she and other black cast members had been subject to racial micro-aggressions and slurs behind the scenes.
However, the programme said the decision to exit was made by Adedeji last year, with her final scenes shot before lockdown.
A Hollyoaks spokesperson said: “Rachel made the decision to leave Hollyoaks to pursue other opportunities earlier last year which saddened us at Hollyoaks as she is one of the leading cast members in the show.
“However, the notice period did allow the writers time to give Lisa Loveday an extremely gripping exit storyline. Viewers will see this story play out later this year as her final scenes were filmed shortly before lockdown.”
The 28-year-old, who previously competed on the X Factor, joined the soap in 2016.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the actor added: “It had always been our intention for Rachel to leave the show after a period of time. She loved her time on Hollyoaks and the exit storyline was openly discussed with the producers and her together, in a collaborative format.”
Adedeji said Hollyoaks’ response to Black Lives Matter was “performative and disingenuous” as she disclosed her experiences of being witness and subjected to racism including being told “you’re all the same” by a make-up artist, and claimed black cast members were referred to as “blackies” by a member of the production team.
My thoughts on the Hollyoaks response to Black Lives Matter pic.twitter.com/jvOxzCQkl0
— Rachel Adedeji (@RachelASongs) June 5, 2020
The Lisa Loveday star received support from colleague Amanda Clapham who said she had also witnessed instances of racism on set.
This week, the show’s production company Lime Pictures outlined a plan of action which will see cast and crew undergo training on “unconscious bias”.
The statement from the company also read: “All BAME staff, freelancers and cast will be offered mentoring from Lime’s senior management.
An open letter that I have sent to the senior members of staff at Hollyoaks in support of Black Lives Matter, friends and colleagues. pic.twitter.com/ff1gBVypae
— Amanda Clapham (@amandaclapham) June 7, 2020
“We will build on our work towards making Lime as diverse and inclusive as possible across all aspects of recruitment and talent retention, on and off screen.
“Lime’s BAME writers and directors schemes will be reviewed and augmented to drive greater inclusivity within the industry.
“We are undertaking an immediate and in depth review of company and cast liaison across Lime.”