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Game Of Thrones star: My mere presence in the film and TV industry is political

The actress said the death of George Floyd had ‘shaken people to their core’.

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Nathalie Emmanuel (Ian West/PA)

Nathalie Emmanuel (Ian West/PA)

Nathalie Emmanuel (Ian West/PA)

Game Of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel has said her “mere presence” in a white-dominated film and TV industry is “political”.

The actress, 31, addressed the anti-racism movement and her experience of racism on ITV’s Calling Peston podcast.

Emmanuel, who played ill-fated former slave Missande in the fantasy drama, was among the celebrities who attended Black Lives Matter protests in London earlier this month.

Recounting her experience of the film and TV industry, she said: “When you’re in a space that is predominantly white actors, your mere presence is political.

“And so you, to an extent are having to make sure that you are representing the communities that you represent in a way that isn’t derogatory or being stereotyped in any way.

“There have been occasions where I’ve had to really kind of fight for those things and people haven’t listened. And I found that incredibly challenging.”

She said the death of George Floyd had “shaken people to their core”.

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Black Lives Matter demonstrators outside Downing Street in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Black Lives Matter demonstrators outside Downing Street in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

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Black Lives Matter demonstrators outside Downing Street in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Protests have taken place around the world following the death of unarmed black man Mr Floyd in the US, after a police officer knelt on his neck.

She said: “What’s different? Well we saw a man die in an eight-minute and 46 second video, and I think it has shaken people to their core because it was uninterrupted. It was horrific.

“And it’s an issue that people have been screaming about. And now we, we have seen it, the expression of this issue in the most horrific and violent way. And it’s hard to ignore.”

She added: “When you just think about the sheer numbers of people who are marching and organising at this time, this generation may be different.

“This activism may be different because we have resources like social media. We have the internet, we have technology where we can organise.”

She told hosts Shehab Khan and Dan Hewitt about her first memory of racism.

She said: “I think my first memory of racism, I was six and I literally did not understand what, why I was being called these things.

“It’s painful, the emotional, mental repercussions of those things. Like they don’t just go away and I’ve really been reliving those things.

“So it’s not something that once the comment’s been said, or the situation is over that you just get on with things.

“And that’s something that I’m, I’ve been thinking about a lot. And I think about those children that don’t have someone fighting for them and vouching for them.”

Emmanuel previously criticised Game Of Thrones over its lack of on-screen diversity, saying the show “could have done better”.

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