Emmerdale star Shila Iqbal has been axed from the soap with immediate effect after historical offensive social media posts were brought to the attention of bosses. The actress has just been promoted to a show regular, playing the character of Aiesha Jutla.
An Emmerdale spokesperson told us: ‘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.’
A report in Mail Online claims that the star was fired after posting a series of racist tweets in 2013, when she was 19 and attending college in Rochdale. They are alleged to have included the ‘n’ word. Shila has since deleted her Twitter account but confirms that she was 19 at the time of tweeting.
She has issued a statement saying: ‘I am terribly sorry and take full responsibility for my use of such inappropriate language. I have paid the price and can no longer continue the job I loved the most at Emmerdale. Although I was young when I made the Tweets, it was still completely wrong of me to do so and I sincerely apologise.
‘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.’
It is not clear if her already filmed scenes will be removed from upcoming episodes.