• Left: Actor Shareena Clanton at a NAIDOC week march. Right: Actor Meyne Wyatt. The two Aboriginal actors have alleged racism on the Neighbours set. (AAP)Source: AAP
Indigenous actors separately allege that a racist and misogynistic workplace is the norm on the set of Australia's longest running TV show.
Bernadette Clarke

7 Apr 2021 - 4:07 PM  UPDATED 7 Apr 2021 - 5:28 PM

Wongatha, Yamatji, and Noongar, Gitja actor Shareena Clanton says she will never work for television's 'Neighbours' again, following allegations of racism and misconduct on set.

On social media, Ms Clanton said that she experienced "racist traumas" on set, including hearing the "n" word twice. Racism disguised as 'jokes' was common, she said, such as when a white actress openly called an actress of colour a “lil’ monkey”.

"What motivated me to speak up (is that) essentially this has always been here, as part of the Australian filming television landscape."

The actor said the poor workplace environment was not limited to racism, but included inappropriate behaviour towards women. 

"(It was) continuous right until the very days before I left set, this kind of gross sexual misconduct, I'm not even going to repeat that word, the levels of misogyny from cast, the inappropriate behaviour from cast members, the... excuses that were laid bare to me," Ms Clanton told NITV News. 

"It's exhausting and at no point is this about me whinging or being a victim or putting myself in a position of the mater this is about raising the bar on who we are as human beings."

Meyne Wyatt, the first Aboriginal actor to have a recurring role on Neighbours, supported Ms Clanton's assertions, taking to social media to say he too had experienced racism on set.

Meyne Wyatt said in a Twitter thread that he'd been called the "c" word on the Neighbours set.

He called on the television show, and the entertainment industry more broadly, to do better.

Fremantle Media, the production company responsible for Neighbours, responded to the allegations with a statement, saying Ms Clanton's involvement with the show had been "invaluable".

“Neighbours strives to be a platform for diversity and inclusion on-screen and off-screen," read the statement. 

"Shareena’s involvement in the creative process and on set was invaluable and hugely educational and will benefit the series moving forward. We will continue to work with all cast and crew to ensure Neighbours continues to be a fully inclusive environment.”

Ms Clanton says she doesn't see an easy resolution when it comes to confronting such racism, but hopes speaking out will shine light on the issue.

"This conversation is not new, we're exhausted by it, it's not just up to Indigenous peoples to shift the rhetoric or cultural landscape, it has to come from non-Indigenous people."

Indigenous director sheds light on intergenerational trauma in award-winning film 'The Moogai'
Award-winning Indigenous director and writer Jon Bell has wins a prestigious prize for his short film, which uses horror to depict the terrible reality of trauma faced by First Nations people, including that of the Stolen Generations.