Hollyoaks bosses have admitted there is “further work to do” after one of the soap’s stars said she had experienced racism while working on the show.
The Channel 4 series is introducing new measures – including bringing in “unconscious bias trainers” – to tackle racial inequality among its cast and crew.
Lime Pictures, which produces the soap, released a statement after actress Rachel Adedeji said on Friday that “very little is being done behind the scenes” to address issues around racial inequality.
She said her “fellow black cast mates are deemed angry, aggressive and too vocal” and described Hollyoaks’ response to the Black Lives Matter movement as “performative and disingenuous”.
Lime Pictures said it “strives to have zero tolerance of racism or any form of discrimination” but that it is “very conscious” more needs to be done.
The company said it is reaching out to cast and staff members who have raised concerns and encouraging those who have not already done so to voice any issues they might have.
The soap is also working with unconscious bias trainers to augment its training processes.
All BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) staff, freelancers and cast will be offered mentoring from Lime Pictures’ senior management.
Its BAME writers and directors schemes will also be reviewed.
There will also be a Hollyoaks podcast where black cast members will share their experiences of racism.
A spokeswoman for Lime Pictures said: “Hollyoaks has been deeply shocked and saddened by issues that have been brought to our attention over the weekend.
“Lime Pictures strives to have zero tolerance of racism or any form of discrimination across all of its shows but it is clear we have further work to do.
“We must stamp out implicit bias, which means calling out racism wherever and whenever we see it.
“We will continue to add to our action plan as we continue and broaden our dialogue with cast and staff.”
The statement continued: “We are very conscious that we need to do more and are committed to making changes that we need to make.
“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.”
There has been increased scrutiny over the treatment of BAME cast and crew members following the death of George Floyd in the US, the unarmed black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck, sparking protests around the world.
Following the statement, Channel 4 announced a six-point commitment to being an anti-racist organisation.
The plan includes a commitment to the target that 20% of staff, and 20% of the top 100 paid staff, will be BAME by 2023.
Channel 4 also aims to double the number of BAME-led independent producers that it commissions from by 2023.
The plan covers commissioning, on-screen representation, the supply chain and Channel 4’s business model.
Chief executive Alex Mahon said the death of Mr Floyd had made the broadcaster question whether it was doing enough to tackle racism within and outside its ranks.
She said: “The death of George Floyd and the reaction it has caused has highlighted the depth of racism, be it structural or individual, that still confronts black and minority ethnic people here in the UK, in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
“It has made us question ourselves again about whether we are doing enough to tackle racism, and how we are using our position as a public service broadcaster with diversity in our DNA, to drive positive change in our industry and in society at large.
“As is clear from the testimonies of our black and minority ethnic colleagues in the industry we are not doing enough and there is not enough progress.
“Therefore, I want to clearly set out today that Channel 4 is an organisation committed to anti-racism and we want to go further in driving positive change within our own organisation and in the creative industries.”