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Former EastEnders star Devon Anderson says he witnessed racism in the industry

·2-min read

Former EastEnders and Hollyoaks star Devon Anderson has opened up about his experiences of racism in the television industry.

The actor, who played Billie Jackson in two stints on the BBC One soap and Sonny Valentine for a year on the Channel 4 show, spoke to MyLondon about how he has seen actors of colour treated unfairly compared to white actors.

"In the industry I've witnessed Black artists being treated differently to their white counterparts," he said. "People being protected and wrapped in cotton wool and looked after and protected from those things.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: Former EastEnders star Devon Anderson reveals Billie Jackson's death scenes were changed

"But Black artists have been hung out to dry... if a Black person messed up it wasn't covered, it wasn't like 'we'll protect you', whereas I've seen white people mess up and they are viewed differently.

"Role models are so important, and you don't know that until later on and that you're experiencing certain things as a Black male that you're not realising are wrong and you're not realising that you're actually being hard done by and this is racism. You don't know racism properly until it hits you and you've experienced it."

Anderson also talked about how he feels the industry trying to cast a more diverse range of people can come across as inauthentic, saying: "I'm reading scripts and I can tell it's written for a white person. I can tell it's written for a white person due to the dialect, and then I'm receiving a breakdown which is for me and sometimes it feels like it's shoehorned in.

"I'd like it to be a more natural progression instead of 'oh we've got to make our quota of five Black people per episode'...

Photo credit: Devon Anderson - Instagram
Photo credit: Devon Anderson - Instagram

Related: EastEnders reveals shock death story

"I'm not asking for you to push us into things, I'm asking that ancient Egyptian stories where people would have been Black then don't whitewash them."

Outside of his appearances in both soaps, Devon was known for CBBC shows Kerching! and Ace Lightning, and has more recently kept himself busy DJing and hosting a podcast.

EastEnders airs on BBC One.

For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.

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