Former Towie star Vas Morgan claims co-star uttered vile racial slurs
Vas Morgan has claimed former Towie co-stars uttered vile racial slurs, including the ’n-word’ right in front of him while filming for the show.
The 31-year-old, who appeared on the ITV series for four years, from 2014, has spoken openly in the past about his experiences with trolling, receiving cruel messages from the public over his skin colour and sexuality – and launched his own I Am Enough platform to help others who are struggling themselves.
He recently made headlines after sharing a lengthy statement on Instagram, taking aim at the series following their response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the message, shared to his 466k followers, he explained he felt the need to reply after seeing racist comments underneath their post.
‘Countless times I’ve been in environments where I’ve had to endure racist language being used casually,’ he wrote. ‘The fact that it wasn’t directed at me doesn’t make it less painful to hear.’
The post in question has led to Vas working alongside producers to introduce additional support for the cast, and training courses behind the scenes.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk about his decision to speak up, he said there were a handful of moments where a male co-star would make racist comments right in front of him, using vile slurs and branding women who liked black guys ‘used goods’.
‘I would overhear conversations of a male cast member saying to the girls like, “Oh yeah you effed – like slept with – that n***** in the past”. I’d be on set listening to this,’ he told us.
‘”Ah she’s a n***** lover”. “You just like all the black boys. You’re disgusting, you’re used goods. Any girl that sleeps with black boys….” I’ve heard these conversations maybe four times, while I was sat in the room.
‘I would be like, “Woah, do I say something?” Because the problem is, when you do speak up on that show, it turns into a storyline. But where I know they would never delve into the racial aspects on the storyline, it would just turn into me against them for a whole season, based off of a small thing that I’d maybe overheard.
‘The viewer would never have understood what it was that I overheard, and suddenly I’m the villain, again.’
At one point during a row, Vas recalled being accused of having a ‘gangster family’ because of the colour of his skin.
‘I would just have to turn a blind eye to it and just ignore it,’ the reality star continued. ‘I was told, during an argument with someone, “Oh yeah don’t argue with him, he’s gonna bring his black gangster family.” Stuff like that, comments like that…
‘I wouldn’t react because I just knew it was ignorance that I didn’t need to play up to. But this happened so many times and I just don’t feel like I was protected while that happened.’
Vas left Towie in 2018, and has used his past experiences – as well as his platform – to give back. He launched his own I Am Enough venture in a bid to help members of the black community, offering free access to mental health resources among other things.
The star decided to make his experiences on the show public knowledge on 10 June, in a lengthy statement which took aim at Towie’s Blackout Tuesday post in support of Black Lives Matter.
He noticed racist messages below their upload and decided to reply to one Instagram user – but found his own comment was swiftly deleted.
Taking action, he opened up about the four years he appeared on the reality series.
He stated: ’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.
‘During the four years I filmed the show, I was almost never allowed to show any sides of my personality that wasn’t angry, aggressive or negative.
‘I was consistently put into situations that perpetuated the same racial stereotype that has been used to oppress and control black people.’
Chatting to Metro.co.uk, Vas said that the response from Towie producers was ‘immediate’ – with those in charge already making changes behind the scenes.
‘I had a phone call from one of the producers at Towie, and I had a phone call from the head of PR who was also a friend of mine. And they were quite apologetic about my treatment, and I’d say they didn’t realise I felt the way I felt,’ he claimed.
‘[They didn’t] turn a blind eye but they weren’t aware of the impact their behaviour had on me. And they’re trying to change. We’ve had a follow up call of things they’re going to implement to build a change for the next person.
‘What I wanted to stress is that it wasn’t about me, it’s too late for me. I helped myself, I went to rehab, I got mental health support, the impact that show had on me, I’ve been able to sort of grow and learn from.
‘I wanted to more speak out for the next guy, and also try and encourage the show to bring more black people onto the show, for it not to be so white. So I think hopefully they are the changes they’re going to do.’
‘A great thing that’s happening is that they’ve brought on a welfare specialist who I’m going to be working very closely alongside of, for the rest of the cast,’ he added. ‘To help them, the cast and the crew, be more inclusive and be more aware of their actions and the impact their actions can have on black people in general.
‘So I think that’s going to be a huge step for the show.
‘I don’t know what’s going to come from our first call, but it’s going to be an ongoing thing that the show is going to learn from. So I’m going to be working very closely with the network behind the scenes to help inclusivity.’
A Towie spokesperson confirmed they are in ‘ongoing discussions’ with Vas over his concerns, insisting they have ‘zero tolerance’ for this behaviour.
A statement shared with Metro.co.uk read: ‘We are in ongoing discussion with Vas in light of the concerns he raised and have already begun a series of training courses and introduced additional support for the cast as part of an ongoing action plan to address the issues he brought to us.
‘We had not previously been made aware of the use of such unacceptable language described by Vas.
‘We have zero tolerance for this sort of behaviour and we are looking into this as a matter of urgency.’
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