Emmerdale airs explanation of actress Shila Iqbal's exit after she was sacked for 'racist' tweets

Shila Iqbal was fired from Emmerdale in April. PIC: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images
Shila Iqbal was fired from Emmerdale in April. PIC: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

On Thursday night Emmerdale explained the departure of actress Shila Iqbal after she was sacked from the show for 'racist' tweets.

During a short scene featuring the Sharma family, it was revealed that Aiesha (Miss Iqbal's character), had 'taken off' to help a friend in Ibiza.

- > Emmerdale actress sacked after offensive tweets unearthed

The actress has been critical of the soap's decision to dismiss her after historical tweets which contained offensive and racist terms were found.

Speaking to the sun in April she said: "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."

Asked if she thought 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."

The actress had only joined the series as a regular at the end of March 2019.

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After the tweets were unearthed, a spokeswoman for the soap said: "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."

Miss Iqbal issued an apology via her Instagram account shortly after the news broke.

She said: "I want to say I am truly sorry to anyone who I have hurt or offended with the tweets I sent as a silly, uneducated teenager. Please know I do not condone the language I used 6/7 years ago.

"Even if I was having a conversation with friends and had no malice behind the tweets, the now mature and wiser me knows that it was utterly wrong of me to do so."