Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal sacked after 'offensive tweets' resurface

Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal Aiesha Richards

Emmerdale actress Shila Iqbal has been sacked from the soap after 'offensive tweets' resurfaced.

Shila played Aiesha Richards in the ITV soap and first made her debut in 2018.

But she has been "immediately removed" from the show after 6-year-old tweets came to light.

The messages were sent in 2013, when Shila was a teenager at college.

In an apology, Shila wrote: "I am terribly sorry and take full responsibility for my use of such inappropriate language. I have paid the price and can no longer continue the job I loved the most at Emmerdale.

"Although I was young when I made the Tweets, it was still completely wrong of me to do so and I sincerely apologise.

"The only consideration I would ask is that I have recently received hateful tweets telling me that as a Muslim my Emmerdale role means that I am ‘committing sinful acts, promoting sin and deliberately going against the Quran’.

"We live in sensitive times for members of all communities and especially those in multi-racial Rochdale where I grew up.

"I regret that I too have let people down by the use of such language, albeit six years ago. I, like everyone else, have a responsibility about the language I have used on social media as well as in conversation.”

ITV said in a statement: "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."

After making her debut on the soap last year, Shila confirmed last month she would be returning to the show as a series regular.

"My family love Emmerdale and to be appearing in a show that you’ve grown up watching just feels like a dream!" she said at the time. "[My character] Aiesha very much represents the new generation of social media fascination and her phone is her third hand.

"She is always camera ready! She speaks her mind, although it comes from a ditzy but good place for sure...

"I think although certain locals may be annoyed by her initially, they soon begin to realise her effervescent personality is just Aiesha being Aiesha!"

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