Sunday 15 September 2019

'You should be judged on the person you are today' - Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal on being dropped by soap over offensive tweets

The actress lost her job over a string of Twitter posts

Shila Iqbal has spoken about her Twitter controversy. (Ian West/PA)
Shila Iqbal has spoken about her Twitter controversy. (Ian West/PA)

Craig Simpson

Actress Shila Iqbal has said people have a moral responsibility to “use language appropriately” following her dismissal for offensive online posts.

A series of posts on Twitter made when she was younger were criticised for being racist and homophobic.

After being called in by Emmerdale producers over the tweets, the actress was dropped by the soap.

Iqbal has branded the tweets “banter” and questioned whether it is fair to judge a person based on their remarks as a teenager.

She has also said there is a responsibility to use non-offensive language.

Speaking on This Morning, she said: “You should be judged on the person you are today.”

Iqbal added: “I know I have made a terrible mistake but I want to use my negative situation to bring about positives.

“To help raise awareness to the younger generation that the words we use and how we use them have a huge impact on other people.

“We need to take a moral responsibility and use language appropriately and think about our actions.”

Iqbal said she was dropped by producers half an hour after a meeting to discuss offensive tweets which had resurfaced.

She said: “I was shocked that it was me because I don’t use those words any more.”

Iqbal offered an explanation to hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield for her use of homophobic and racially-charged language online.

She said: “I think at the time there was no malicious intent behind the tweets. It was a conversation,  banter in a way, between my friends.

“It was heavily influenced by the hip hop and rap music we listened to.

“I don’t think I understood the true meanings behind them and the implications and the hurt that those words would cause.”

She added: “I honestly think it’s a tricky one. ITV have a moral obligation to do what’s right by the public and I respect their decision.

“But I do question, it is it fair that I am being judged by something I did as a teenager?”

PA Media

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