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Dublin-born Fair City actor reacts to online insults

Last update - Thursday, July 30, 2009, 13:12 By Catherine Reilly

A YOUNG ACTOR born and bred in Dublin has been the subject of vile anti-foreigner comments on a popular website.

Yare Jegbefume (26), who will return to the RTÉ soap Fair City this autumn, told Metro Éireann he was “flabbergasted” at the deluge of hate posted beneath an anti-racism video he starred in on YouTube.
In the video ‘A Letter Home’, Inchicore-raised Jeg-befume speaks in a generic African accent reading a letter penned by a young Irish emigrant mistreated in New York, and whose only salvation was sport.
But dozens of comments posted after the video’s uploading racially abused the Irish actor, telling him to “go back to your tribe”.
“He’s clearly a Negro, not Irish,” read one, while another referred to the video being “quite informative really; a very good example of one unpleasant negro trait: bloodshot eyes. The great apes have that too.”
Another poster under the name EddieTheDaddyHitler wrote: “F*** off home you disguting [sic] spear chucking c***! Not welcome, go back to your tribe.”
At press time, the majority of the 60-plus comments were negative towards the black actor, with a subsequent foray of positive remarks following publicity of the abuse by production company Army of ID, which has also reported the situation to gardaí.
One girl called Cristina wrote: “If these arseholes heard ur real Dublin accent I bet they wouldn’t say anythin!! Fu**in morons!! We’re really proud of u Yare.”
Jegbefume’s parents, who hail from Delta State in Nigeria, emigrated to Ireland in the early 1980s and “worked their socks off”, according to their son.
“It’s disheartening,” he continued. “I’m angry, frustrated, very much so. I just couldn’t believe it got this sort of response. We’ve migrated to the US, Canada and Australia and been welcomed with open arms.
“People say it’s only a minority [making such comments] but you have to ask how big is this minority?”
He said immigrants had arrived in Ireland, often doing the menial jobs that no-one else wanted to do, and now face a backlash.
“This needs to be addressed,” said Jegbefume, who called for more awareness of racism and complimented Fair City’s executive director Brigie De Courcy as recognising the need for more diverse faces on screen.
In the soap, Jegbefume plays a Dublin social worker.
Quintin Ahern, director of Army of ID, which made and uploaded the video, told Metro Éireann he had adjusted the settings in order to monitor the comments, which gardaí are also observing.
However, websites based outside Ireland – such as the white supremacist forum Stormfront Ireland – are beyond the force’s jurisdiction.
At press time, YouTube had not responded to a request for comment.

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