The Guildhall School, the school where Michaela Coel and Paapa Essiedu honed their acting craft while experiencing racial abuse, has officially apologized to the stars and more.
According to Variety, the school has apologized to its famous alumni for the “unacceptable” behavior they endured from others while attending.
"Guildhall School apologizes unreservedly for the racism experienced by Paapa Essiedu, Michaela Coel and other alumni whilst they were studying at the school," a spokesperson for the school told Variety
“The experiences [Essiedu] shares were appalling and unacceptable. We have since undertaken aa sustained program of action to address and dismantle long-standing systemic racism within the Acting Program, including commissioning an external report into historic racism and comprehensive and ongoing process of staff training and reflection.”
The spokesperson also said that the school has also significantly redeveloped their acting curriculum, "including a departmental staff restructure, so that our teaching and learning culture prioritizes inclusivity, representation and wellbeing."
“We understand that this work is long-term and will require sustained commitment to build a culture that is inclusive and equitable for everyone,” the spokesperson continued.
Essiedu talked about the racism they experienced in an interview with The Guardian. Both Coel and Essiedu were part of an improvisation class when a teacher, who was playing the part of a prison officer looking for drugs, called Essiedu the N-word. Essiedu said he and Coel “were so shocked we just stayed in the improvisation.”
"We were so shellshocked by what had happened and shocked that it had come out of the mouth of a teacher," he said. "It so clearly shows a lack of respect and understanding of what the experience is of someone who is in that position, in that skin, in that institution." He also said the teacher told him his enunciation sounded like his mouth was "full of chocolate cake."
Coel also talked about the experience at the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2018, saying she was called the N-word twice, particularly during one sketch that had nothing to do with race, but was a “walk in the space” improvisation. When she and the other Black students didn’t respond, she said she wondered “what the other students thought of our complicity.”