A black Swedish actor was rejected from an IKEA advert by a UK casting company after being told he ‘can’t be black for the Greek market’.
Fernando, a Stockholm-based stand-up comedian and actor, had hoped to star in an IKEA commercial to be shown in Greece.
However he was copied into an email from Crocodile Casting sent to his agents which read: ‘He can’t be black for the Greek market. Sorry.’
Fernando, who didn’t want his surname published, said: ‘I was sad and angry. I’m sick of this. My colleagues in the industry are sick of this.’
Fernando, a Stockholm-based stand-up comedian and actor, had hoped to star in an IKEA commercial to be shown in Greece but was told ‘he can’t be black for the Greek market’
Fernando had decided to apply for the advert after the brief asked for an actor who was ‘really good at comedy, with a dry sense of humour’.
‘I’m a stand-up comedian’, he said. ‘So I sent a link to them of my showreel.’
But just a day later he was informed he would not be considered for the role because of his skin colour.
When he called up to complain, he claimed the casting company ‘weren’t even polite’.
He told the Local: ‘They just said it was a human error. It was not supposed to go to you, it was supposed to go to your agent. They didn’t understand my point of view at all.’
‘They said they are Jewish, so they can’t be racist. But I said it’s got nothing to do with your religion or your ethnicity, it was just wrong of you to write like this.’
He added: ‘They say they want a Swedish actor, and I came here when I was six years old, so I don’t know what more I can do to be Swedish,’ he said. ‘It’s 2018, we are living in a multicultural country. So what is a Swedish actor? Is it a white actor?’
Fernando said he had been warned that going public might stop him getting work in the future.
The actor was copied in to an email sent to his agents from the Crocodile Casting Company
Ikea told SVT they had included skin-colour requirements for the advert.
Jakob Holmström, the company’s press spokesman, said: ‘Sometimes you are looking for a blonde man. Sometimes you are looking for a dark-haired woman, an Asian one or a South American.
‘There’s nothing unusual about that in itself. What’s unfortunate is the way this was formulated when he got a rejection.’