Home and Away’s Jay Laga’aia Says What We’re All Thinking

Pic: @jaylagaaia

Jay Laga’aia who plays Rev Elijah Johnson on Home and Away (until April) has hit out at Home and Away producers, and the Australian Television Industry’s, “White Australia Policy”, saying that the real reason his character was written out of Home and Away was because they already had their quota of ethnic characters.

Earlier today he tweeted (@jaylagaaia):

“Hats off to you Firass Dirani, for a call to stop commercial network producers casting only white actors. Only on Australian screens. Shame!”

“As someone who lost his job on H&A because they couldnt write two ethnics that weren’t together, I’d like a chance to ply my trade freely.”

“I think commercial TV should take a leaf out of children’s TV in this country. We are a rainbow nation in kids TV. No tokens here.”

Laga’aia’s tweets come after actor Firass Dirani (Underbelly: The Golden Mile) was promoting his new show The Straits and said that the appeal of this “ambitious show was seeing points of difference, different flavours, different cultures”.

He went on to tell Adelaide Now,  “There has to be a call for the networks to put on shows with these cultural differences because this is who we are in 2012… dramas such as Channel 7’s Rafters and Winners & Losers did not reflect the real racial mix of the nation. Those people on Winners & Losers in their floral colours and their pastels … I don’t even know people like this. We need to watch ourselves, warts and all; flaws and all. Hopefully the networks start writing shows that cater for different actors and different cultural backgrounds.”

Home and Away producers are not happy with Laga’aia’s claims. According to news.com.au, Producers have said “We have great regard for Jay and his work on Home and Away during the last two years. It is insulting to suggest that Home and Away is racist. His character’s storyline reached a natural conclusion.”

Good on Dirani and Laga’aia for starting this much needed conversation! Australian television is not reflective of the people who make up that great country. Instead of being defensive, it’s time for the Australian television industry to take a good look at itself and start casting more diversely! It would be great if Australian television could become a real representation of Australia’s multicultural society.

That’s Entertainment!

About The Bellissimo Files

Hi, I’m Sarina Bellissimo and this is the place I come to indulge in my love of all things entertainment. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by all things Hollywood/showbiz. I blame my parents! As a child my mum used to force me to watch old Elvis Presley films with her, and both my mum & dad would take my brothers and I to the Drive-In to watch the latest films (this is where my love for ROCKY began!). When not watching movies, I was trying to figure out ways to pull the back off the TV so I could somehow get into it and be a part of all the action on the screen! This blog isn’t a place that revels in gossip and negativity. It’s a place where entertainment is celebrated. That said, this is a place you can turn to for honesty. Honesty and criticism don’t always mean attacks. I choose to criticise the piece of work but not the person and I acknowledge that just because I don’t like something, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Here you’ll find interviews with some of the biggest names in the world of Entertainment, reviews, breaking news and my very own musings. Away from The Bellissimo Files, you can find me on Spin 1038 on Saturdays, between 1pm and 3pm,presenting Plan B. There’s celebrity interviews, entertainment news, the low down on the must see movies and music releases of the week, the ultimate guide to what’s on where in the city, as well as masterclasses with experts on standby to answer listeners’ questions. I also appear on TV3’s “Elaine” panel, talk movies on “Ireland AM” and you can sometimes hear me filling in on Moncrieff’s “Movies and Booze “(Newstalk) The Bellissimo Files is constantly evolving. Files (topics) will be added or deleted as time goes on. Feel free to read, watch, comment, share, and make suggestions for what you would like to see on the site. Sarina
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