Shila Iqbal has been fired from her role in Emmerdale after show bosses learnt of racist tweets she posted back in 2013. The soap star, who had just joined as factory worker Aiesha Richards, shared the tweets when she was 19 and attending college in Rochdale. After the comments were unearthed, Shila was immediately dismissed.
In a statement, the 24-year-old actress said: "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."
Shila Iqbal wrote the tweets when she was 19
She added: "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."
The actress first appeared on the show in 2018
A representative for ITV also confirmed in a statement: "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."
Shila has since shut down her Twitter account although her Instagram profile remains open. She joined Emmerdale as a permanent cast member in March, after a brief appearance on the soap last year. At the time, the actress said she was "over the moon" to be asked back, revealing: "My family love Emmerdale and to be appearing in a show that you've grown up watching just feels like a dream! I'm really grateful to the producers for bringing me back. Everyone has been lovely, especially my on-screen family, who have just been so welcoming and have really made me feel at home."
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