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A black British actor has sparked a discussion about representation in the industry after sharing a promotional film poster he was cut from – despite all his white co-stars being featured.
Noel Clarke is a BAFTA-winning actor, writer and director, who starred in Doctor Who and created the popular Kidulthood film trilogy.
His Sky One series Bulletproof, which he co-created and acts in, has just become the channel's biggest returning drama.
#BULLETPROOF is now Sky One’s Biggest Returning Drama! with 6 (5.77) MILLION downloads since the launch of Season2.… https://t.co/oqmq3Nl5tX — Noel Clarke (@Noel Clarke)
But Clarke says those achievements have not been enough to earn him respect as a black man in the entertainment industry.
His remarks were part of a wider discussion about racism in the UK and US.
“People on here acting like this is just a US problem. #Racism is prevalent here too,” Clarke wrote.
“Embedded in the fabric of society, the industry I'm in. Sometimes it's hard to keep fighting, when whenever you speak up, your silenced or, labelled as aggressive, difficult or 'Chippy'."
People on here acting like this is just a US problem. #Racism is prevalent here too. Embedded in the fabric of soci… https://t.co/HIcvVrEJDr — Noel Clarke (@Noel Clarke)
The actor then lasered in on problems with representation in his industry, revealing the struggle it took to get Bulletproof made.
“Just remember nobody wanted Bulletproof,” he tweeted.
“We were told #Bulletproof would never work or sell with two BLACK leads. NEVER. Look now".
Just remember nobody wanted bulletproof, we were told #Bulletproof would never work or sell with two BLACK leads. NEVER. Look now. — Noel Clarke (@Noel Clarke)
Finishing up, Clarke uploaded a promotional poster for Fisherman’s Friends, a film he starred in last year.
Although the poster displayed Clarke’s name alongside his six co-stars, he is the only one whose image didn’t appear.
And the actor pointedly highlighted his omission, drawing two large arrows to space on the poster he could have occupied.
“I’ll just leave this here,” Clarke wrote in the accompanying caption.
“And not one of these other actors spoke up for me and the fact I was not on here, being as well known as most of them”.
And I’ll just leave this here.
And not one of these other actors spoke up for me and the fact I was not on here,… https://t.co/M8cLgM5lA1 — Noel Clarke (@Noel Clarke)
Fans expressed shock underneath his tweet, as well as support for Clarke.
One Twitter user who met Clarke during the filming for Fisherman’s Friends said he was the “one person” he was excited to be photographed with.
@NoelClarke Mate you were the one person I wanted to be photographed with when I was lucky enough to to be in Cornw… https://t.co/XI3rNA0jSd — Carl legg (@Carl legg)
Another asked if they could use the poster as an example when teaching students about representation in cinema, to which Clarke replied with a ‘thumbs up’ emoji.
@NoelClarke This is...well, I don't actually have words for how disgraceful this is. At some point in the next few… https://t.co/AHAAVRftnH — Crow Violet (@Crow Violet)
Others began to draw parallels between Clarke’s treatment and that of other black actors.
@NoelClarke Reminds me of Ernie Hudson being continually shafted in Ghostbusters promos. They even *Photoshopped hi… https://t.co/GzTBBPGpXQ — Pip (@Pip)
Reportedly a sequel for the film is in the works.
Oh to be a fly on the wall in the marketing meetings for round two..