Noel Clarke Shares Email From High-Level Agent Confusing Him For Another Black Actor
Actor, screenwriter and director Noel Clarke has opened up about the time a ‘high level agent’ mistook him for another black actor in an email.
According to Clarke, who is a recipient of BAFTA’s Rising Star Award and a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, he and the unnamed industry professional had previously met ‘various times’.
The agent, who the Kidulthood writer claims has been in the business for as long as he has, had ‘access to all industry and professional information’. Furthermore, Clarke had previously even worked alongside some of the agent’s clients.
The email in question appears to have been intended as some sort of a compliment, although it does appear to be a little backhanded seeing as the agent described Top Boy – which they believed Clarke to have acted in – as not their ‘thing’.
Of course, whether or not they enjoyed the latest season of Top Boy was irrelevant. Clarke has never worked on the show and the agent was getting him mixed up with an entirely different actor altogether.
The letter read:
Just wanted to say how good new series of Top Boy was. Not my ‘thing’ but was wonderful in telling the story of marginalisation and struggle. You weren’t bad either…
Sharing a screenshot of the email, Clarke added:
I’m not in Top Boy mate. It’s a different black actor.
Many of those commenting on Clarke’s post urged him to name and shame the agent, however he replied that he had already dealt with him; stating, ‘not everyone has to be publicly cancelled’.
Clarke revealed how he had replied to the email at the time, and also went on to speak with the agent in a face-to-face capacity.
I dealt with it. They were shamed for sure. Just not here.
Sadly, this is far from a one off occurrence, and others working in the industry could relate all too well to Clark’s email exchange; coming forward to share their own experiences.
Actor and singer Pearl Mackie wrote:
Oi I’m just too enraged. Was going to reply saying this reminds me of when a teacher at Drama school used to mistake me and [Remmie Milner] for each other on a daily basis, but remember all the white kids […] but then of course remembered countless other times this has happened.
A professional booking agent and manager wrote:
I worked as an agent too I’ve was called the n word at work, I’ve had my hair touched, I’ve been sexually harassed, embarrassed and lied about all by the bosses at work. Racism is alive and well in the UK.
It’s clear there’s still a long way to go to improve diversity in the UK film industry. A 2016 study from the BFI found 59% of UK films in the previous decade had featured no black characters whatsoever.
Furthermore, the same study found that, out of the 1,172 films examined, just 157 films featured a black leading actor.
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