Neighbours actor slams racist comments

New Neighbours stars

Menik Gooneratne, Coco-Jacinta Chen and Sachin Joab are the Kapoor family on Neighbours. (Channel 10)

09:30 Fri Dec 9 2011

The Indian actor set to become a regular cast member on Neighbours has hit back at fans of the show who criticised him, saying they probably supported the White Australia policy.

Sachin Joab, who was born in Melbourne and is of Indian descent, has been cast as the father of the Kapoor family — an attempt by Neighbours to try and represent modern Australia.

Staff at the Channel 10 show have been forced to remove angry comments from their website as people vent their anger about a non-white family becoming residents of Ramsay St.

Joab said the racism boiled down to a lack of education, the Herald Sun reports.

“There is various pockets that will say it is un-Australian to have an Indian or an Indian family on Ramsay St.

“Those Aussies who are saying it is un-Australian will be the same ones who pretty much supported the White Australia policy back in the day, you are never going to get away from that kind of stuff.”

The program’s executive producer Susan Bowers said the show had been criticised for being “too white” and it was time Neighbours represented a more modern society.

“The ABC and SBS have always done it (cast multi-cultural Australians), and it was only 20 years ago you put Greeks and Italians on TV and people would question it,” Ms Bowers told the Herald Sun.

Actors Menik Gooneratne and Coco-Jacinta Cherian will complete the Kapoor family.


3 thoughts on “Neighbours actor slams racist comments

  1. well I don’t watch neighbors but my wife and daughters never appear to miss the show,
    but sure agree its about time the show step forward in time and perhaps this is also step in the right direction, as the show can show the culture and family relationships that are part of that culture.. bring it on and include Asia actors.

    The producers get 100% vote for stepping forward and for those that don’t like the changes that easy fixed, just get up and turn T.V. off .

    • It’s a nice step, but as a former long time viewer of Neighbours, I got a bit of skepticism here. After all, there have been many Asian characters of neighbours, and they’ve all ended up quickly:
      a) Written out
      b) Hated
      c) Pregnant and written out
      D) Current or formerly involved in the sex trade

      (And, come to think about it, Italian characters don’t fare much better, with the few Italian characters that emerge all seemingly related to the same gangster, and Eastern Europeans are either witches, or doomed to die in a plane crash).

      Something that goes in favour of this decision is the popularity of the show in England. And in England, it’s rare if not unheard of, for a long-running soap or drama series to be entirely white, espeically if it’s set in the present day. And I honestly think its the english popularity which encourage the introduction of a South Asian family, rather than the decision to better reflect Australia. But that’s also a factor that could make these characters break the curse of non-Anglo characters, and actually stick around.

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