Shila Iqbal: Emmerdale should not have sacked me over historic tweets

Shila Iqbal: Emmerdale should not have sacked me over historic tweets

Shila Iqbal has said she should not have been fired from Emmerdale over historic offensive tweets but should have been suspended instead.

The actress, who played Aiesha Richards on the show, was only made a series regular at the end of March.

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Shila Iqbal attending the Eaten by Lions Premiere held at The Courthouse Hotel in London.
Shila Iqbal attending the Eaten by Lions Premiere held at The Courthouse Hotel in London.
Shila Iqbal attending the Eaten by Lions Premiere held at The Courthouse Hotel in London.
Shila Iqbal and Bhasker Patel attends the Eaten By Lions film premiere. (Photo by Gary Mitchell / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/03/26: Shila Iqbal seen during the film premiere of Eaten By Lions, at the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch in London. (Photo by Terry Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Shila Iqbal attends the 'Eaten By Lions' UK premiere at The Courthouse Hotel on March 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)
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She was dropped from the show as soon as the posts came to light, but Iqbal said she should have been given a chance to make up for her actions.

She told the Sun: "It was easy for them to let go of me and I suppose make an example of me.

"Going forward, the bosses could maybe think about talking to that individual properly and really understanding them and not taking immediate action.

"Maybe if I'd gone in with a different attitude and said 'Oh no, that's not me' or I didn't own up to it or I wasn't apologetic, but from the get-go I was angry and disappointed in myself.

"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."

Shila Iqbal
Shila Iqbal (Ian West/PA)

Asked if she thinks she should have been suspended over the tweets rather than dropped from the show, she said: "I was expecting that and I wanted them to do that.

"ITV have a moral obligation to protect the public and I get that. And that's good to do that. But I'm not hurling abuse at anyone, I never was and again it's not in the present."

Iqbal also criticised ITV for a lack of aftercare after sacking her, saying she was only offered time with a counsellor two or three days after her dismissal.

"She said: "I did think to myself 'Could that offer have been two or three days too late in another person's instance?'

"I mean, it could have been. I'm trying to keep positive, that's the only way, because if I hadn't have kept positive, who knows?

"We are human at the end of the day and I think the right strategies need to be in place to help people deal with that."

A spokeswoman for Emmerdale said: "We offered Shila Iqbal support when this situation happened.

"We asked her if there was anyone we could contact who could come in and support her, a relative or friend.

"We also said she could call any of us at any time. She repeatedly said she was fine and didn't want any help.

"We also immediately contacted her agent, who offered her advice and support."

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