The Only Way Is Essex star Vas J Morgan has accused the ITV reality show of “systematic racism”.
He posted on Instagram that he was “put into situations that perpetuated the same racial stereotype” and was treated differently from his white castmates.
He spoke out at length after saying the show’s official Instagram page started deleting his comments under a Black Lives Matter post.
The show’s spokeswoman said they had been “concerned” to read his comments.
“We got in touch with him yesterday evening in the hope we can discuss the issues he’s raised at his earliest convenience,” she added.
Morgan, who was on the show from 2014 to 2018, added that he “was almost never allowed to show any sides of my personality that wasn’t angry, aggressive or negative”.
He said he was told that he was the “token representation of minority in our cast” and was “there to be paraded out as a symbol but never treated equally to the other cast members and despite having some of the most progressive and talked about scenes on the show, my story arc was never nurtured the way that my white counterparts were”.
He felt “guilty” about not speaking out sooner but said the fear of being “blacklisted” from the industry held him back, he added.
‘Oppressed and silenced’
After Towie posted on Instagram in support of Black Lives Matter, he said he responded to racist replies, but his comments were deleted.
“At the time I was going to let this go but it’s something that has been on my mind for the past few days,” he wrote. “Because it’s tantamount to black voices being oppressed and silenced while they still left the racist comments.
“The incident was reminiscent of similar experiences while filming The Only Way Is Essex.
“While I have always been proud to be one of the only black and gay reality TV stars on British television, I have often felt conflicted over the way I was treated and the way I was portrayed.”
A spokeswoman for the programme said: “We are concerned to have read Vas’s recent comments about Towie, and got in touch with him yesterday evening in the hope we can discuss the issues he’s raised at his earliest convenience.”