Channel 10 holds traditional land ceremony hosted by Aboriginal Elder on Neighbours set – after stars came forward with shocking claims that the soap is rife with racism
Channel 10 recently held a traditional ‘welcome to country’ ceremony near the Neighbours set at Ten’s Nunawading Studios.
Hosted by an Aboriginal Elder, the ceremony took place five weeks ago.
‘We all stood together and everybody got involved. An elder made a speech, they lit the gum leaves, we all took part in having the smoke waft across us. We all took turns, then went back to work,’ a source told The Daily Telegraph on Saturday.
Ceremony: Channel 10 held a traditional ‘welcome to country’ ceremony near the Neighbours set after Shareena Clanton (pictured) made racism claims about her time on the hit soap
‘We were told it was out of respect for the original landowners. It was a welcome to country ceremony like they do at the footy,’ they continued.
‘We all stopped work, and it went for half an hour. It was really good to learn about the history of the area,’ the source added.
A Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country ceremony is held to show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional owners of the country.
A 10 spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that the ceremony took place.
‘We were told it was out of respect for the original landowners. It was a welcome to country ceremony like they do at the footy. We all stopped work, and it went for half an hour. It was really good to learn about the history of the area,’ a source said Saturday. Clanton is pictured
It comes after Shareena Clanton came forward to make racism claims about her time on the hit soap.
Clanton, 30, alleged producers fostered a toxic workplace environment and claimed the show was a ‘culturally unsafe space’ in a bombshell Instagram post on Tuesday.
Among several complaints, Clanton accused a staff member of making crude remarks and claimed she heard the N-word used on set twice, prompting production company Fremantle to bring in an Indigenous consultancy firm to carry out a review.
Clains: Fremantle Media has launched an independent review of Neighbours after the actress accused the show of racism in a lengthy Instagram post
In a statement, 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.’
Speaking: Clanton (pictured) alleged that producers fostered a toxic workplace environment and that the show was a ‘culturally unsafe space’
Fremantle has asked Campfire X, creative leaders in Indigenous Cultural Protocols, to ‘conduct an independent review of Neighbours and the production process’.
Clanton, who has also starred on Wentworth, vowed to never work on Neighbours again after claiming her stint on Ramsay Street was marred by ‘multiple racist traumas’ which have required ongoing counselling.
‘I’m struggling to post anything positive about the months I endured on Neighbours after multiple racist traumas and navigating ongoing counselling from this highly problematic show,’ she wrote on Instagram.
‘It’s been lonely, triggering and traumatising to work in such a culturally unsafe space.’
Remarks: Among several complaints, Clanton (pictured) accused a staff member of making crude remarks and claimed she heard the N-word used on set twice
While she didn’t name specific staff members, Clanton listed several ‘racist’ and problematic incidents she apparently witnessed during filming.
She claimed: ‘A (staff member) thought it funny and appropriate to openly laugh at the word ‘c*m sl*t’ by a cast member who loudly spoke about ‘c*m’, ‘c*m’, ‘c*m’ in front of other cast and crew.
‘Due to my insistence of engaging a Wurundjeri Elder to be included for ongoing cultural safety reasons like cultural protocols followed and debriefing, I was told ‘this is not a film production, Shareena’ and that ‘we simply don’t have the budget’.
‘The humble few hundred dollars a week Aunty and I proposed was in contrast to the thousands of dollars actors were receiving each pay. I paid Aunty directly out of my own income to make up for this lack of budget.’
Further claims: Aboriginal actor Meyne Wyatt (pictured) also took to Instagram to claim he ‘experienced racism on set’ when he was a regular on Neighbours from 2014 to 2016
She continued: ‘A senior staff member openly laughed whilst using the term ‘slave driver’ in reference to him ‘working hard’. My management at the time didn’t help as they endorsed/encouraged this ‘office banter’. I fired the agent.
‘Overt and covert levels of racism were rife, often disguised as ‘jokes’, like a white actress openly calling another actress of colour a ‘lil’ monkey’.’
‘Twice I endured the N-word openly being used on-set and in the green room. I was even told to ‘go somewhere else’ by staff when confronting the actor directly because I was making others ‘uncomfortable’.
‘A white actress openly laughed at the racist N-word to only lie about laughing about it when questioned by HR. She said that I ‘misconstrued’ what she was ‘laughing at’ and that she was laughing at ‘something else’. That is a blatant lie.
He wrote: ‘It is disappointing, but not at all surprising, to hear that five years later racism continues to be present in that workplace. But what can you say, we are in Australia’
‘The retaliation for calling out this misconduct and racism often left me ostracised and further marginalised. What was meant to (be an) HR follow-up (to) discuss this led to them saying they were unsure of ‘what else they could do’.’
Aboriginal actor Meyne Wyatt, who was a regular on Neighbours from 2014 to 2016 playing Nate Kinski and Mason Turner, also took to Instagram to claim he ‘experienced racism on set’.
‘It involved the c-word and I called that sh*t out and it didn’t happen around me again,’ Wyatt claimed.
‘I did walk in on this incident in particular, so I have no doubt things were being said behind my back. I have too much experience to believe otherwise. And it is disappointing, but not at all surprising, to hear that five years later racism continues to be present in that workplace. But what can you say, we are in Australia.’
Comment: On Saturday, Former Neighbours star Sharon Johal (pictured) added her voice to the outcry, sharing an Instagram Stories post revealing her mental health has been affected by the backlash
On Saturday, Former Neighbours star Sharon Johal added her voice to the outcry, sharing an Instagram Stories post revealing her mental health has been affected by the backlash.
She wrote: ‘I can’t pretend everything is “normal” and keep going about my life like nothing has happened. This week has been purely and utterly mentally and emotionally exhausting.
‘Whilst I’m supporting both publicly and privately, and even though there’s much you don’t know about my own personal trauma, I can’t even imagine what they are going through.
‘My own mental health is in the bin. I’m having to handle it. To preserve it I’ve also had to take a break from social media/online after seeing the vile vitriol and backlash out there much of which these brave souls have had to experience.
She wrote: ‘It’s inescapable. It’s everywhere. Indigenous Australians and people of colour/ diverse background don’t “get to” escape racism. We don’t have that privilege;’
‘Yet it’s inescapable. It’s everywhere. Indigenous Australians and people of colour/ diverse background don’t “get to” escape racism. We don’t have that privilege’.
Johal played Dipi Rebecchi on the soap between 2017 and 2021.
Meanwhile, Clanton’s guest appearance on Neighbours is set to air next week.
A Freemantle spokesperson told TV Blackbox: ‘Neighbours strives to be a platform for diversity and inclusion on-screen and off-screen.
‘Our quest is always to continue to grow and develop in this area and we acknowledge that this is an evolving process.
‘Shareena’s involvement in the creative process and on set was invaluable and hugely educational and will benefit the series moving forward.
‘There have been significant and lengthy discussions with Shareena during her time on Neighbours and we will continue to work with all cast and crew to ensure Neighbours continues to be a fully inclusive environment.’
Soon: Clanton’s guest appearance on Neighbours is set to air next week
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