Axed Emmerdale star Shila Iqbal BLASTS ITV bosses and claims they ‘took the easy option and fired her’ …. after racist and homophobic tweets were unearthed
Axed Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal claims ITV should not have fired her over historic racist and homophobic tweets because she showed ‘remorse’ for her actions.
The star, 24, was dismissed by ITV earlier this month when the tweets, shared six years ago while she was at college, were unearthed.
But Shila, who plays Aisha Richards in the soap, said producers took the easy option by firing her and believes she should have been given anther chance.
Shocking: Axed Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal said ITV should not have fired her over historic racist and homophobic tweets because she showed ‘remorse’ for her actions
In an emotional interview with The Sun, Shila said: ‘It was easy for them to let go of me and I suppose make an example of me.
‘I was remorseful, and I think that should have been taken into account with my young age and the fact that I wasn’t a professional actor at that age.’
The tweets revealed by Mail Online are part of a series of messages posted by the actress and passed to ITV.
In one Twitter posting, she wrote: ‘Do not tweet me you gay.’
Revealed: The shocking racist and homophobic content of tweets sent by Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal which led to her sacking, can be revealed by Mail Online
Shocker: Shila, who plays Aisha Richards in the soap, said producers took the easy option by firing her and believes she should have been given anther chance
In another which further outraged the show’s bosses, she wrote: ‘I know too many noisy n****s’ and followed it with a sad face emoji.
The actress, who sent the messages when she was 19 and attending college in Rochdale, apologised for her remarks and deleted her entire Twitter account.
But Shila says she should have been suspended over the Tweets and not fired on the spot.
The actress also hit back at ITV producers for poor aftercare after she was axed – something which hit headlines after the tragic death of Mike Thalassitis last month.
She claims she was only offered a session with a counsellor two or three days after the show.
Way back when: The actress, who sent the insults when she was 19 and attending college in Rochdale, apologised for her remarks and deleted her entire Twitter account
The star says she has been inundated with trolls branding her a racist and homophobe and has suffered from panic attacks since being sacked.
She said: ‘I can’t tell you how many panic attacks I’ve had and the constant feeling of anxiety and fear within you. I’m being branded as a homophobe and a racist and that’s very, very far from who I am as a person. That’s difficult to cope with.’
Shila now fears her career could come to an end like other soap stars involved in unearthed indiscretions.
Coronation Street’s Chris Fountain was sacked in 2013 when a video emerged of him rapping about rape and violence while disguised in a Halloween mask emerged online.
Shock exit: Shila now fears her career could come to an end like other soap stars involved in unearthed indiscretions
And Coronation Street’s Marc Anwar’s career ended when writing a foul-mouthed anti-India tweet.
Shila was hauled in front of executives after the tweets were unearthed last week.
She declared she had let people down, but claimed she herself had become the target for anti-Islamic online attacks.
She said: ‘I am terribly sorry and take full responsibility for my use of such inappropriate language…
‘The only consideration I would ask is that I have recently received hateful tweets telling me that as a Muslim my Emmerdale role means that I am ‘committing sinful acts, promoting sin and deliberately going against the Quran’…
‘We live in sensitive times for members of all communities and especially those in multi-racial Rochdale where I grew up…
‘I regret that I too have let people down by the use of such language, albeit six years ago. I, like everyone else, have a responsibility about the language I have used on social media as well as in conversation.’
Insiders told MailOnline: ‘The nature of the banter that went on in Rochdale six years ago. That’s how everybody – straight, gay, all colours spoke’.
Remorse: The star says she has been inundated with trolls branding her a racist and homophobe and has suffered from panic attacks since being sacked
A representative for ITV confirmed the news, writing: ‘As a consequence of historic social media posts Shila Iqbal has left her role as Aiesha Richards on Emmerdale.
‘The programme took the decision not to renew her contract as soon as these posts were brought to the company’s attention.’
Insiders for the soap reiterated bosses ‘take these issues extremely seriously’.
Shila penned the historic messages when she was 18 and attending college in her native Rochdale. The insider said: ‘Shila Iqbal was summarily fired yesterday by ITV bosses over a series of racist tweets posted a few years on her Twitter…
‘She was making repeated use of the N-word. Straight out of the door. She was only 17/18 when the tweets were posted.’
Hit back: The actress also hit out k at ITV producers for poor aftercare after she was axed – something which was much discussed after the tragic death of Mike Thalassitis last month
Shila’s permanent role was confirmed just last month, as she said: ‘I am over the moon to be back at Emmerdale as a regular. My family love Emmerdale and to be appearing in a show that you’ve grown up watching just feels like a dream.
‘[My character] Aiesha very much represents the new generation of social media fascination and her phone is her third hand. She is always camera ready! She speaks her mind, although it comes from a ditzy but good place for sure…
‘I think although certain locals may be annoyed by her initially, they soon begin to realise her effervescent personality is just Aiesha being Aiesha!’
The scandal comes as the show tackled racism in a storyline surrounding ex-con character Billy Fletcher, played by actor Jay Kontzle. Billy is accused of ‘acting suspiciously’ in what is deemed as racial targeting.
MailOnline has contacted an ITV spokesperson and Shila’s representatives for comment.
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