Actors Melvin Alusa and Illya Frank Quit ‘Salem’ TV Show, Cite ‘Toxic’ Work Environment

April 6, 2023

The popular telenovela ‘Salem’ has lost its two leading cast members in the space of a week over alleged unfavorable working conditions.

It started with actress Illya Frank, who on March 28, announced her untimely resignation from the Showmax/Maisha Magic television series.

In a statement posted to her social media, Illya, who played Zahra Mufasa, cited reasons such as unfavorable working conditions. She called out production companies saying they should take better care of their cast and crew.

The industry is notoriously difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. If production companies took better care of their cast and crew, we could all deliver better quality work and enjoy our craft even more,” she said.

“Players in the industry should also be reminded to be making decisions with greater transparency and consideration for the artists involved. Actors and crews in our local industry need to learn how to speak up and stand up for what is right, honest and healthy on set,” Illya added.


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A post shared by Illya Frank (@illyafrank_official)

She further called for a ‘safer and more respectful” working environment, saying the local film/TV industry should nurture creativity instead of exploiting it.

Illya has since been replaced on the show by former Tahidi High actress Jackie Matubia.

On Wednesday, March 5, Melvin Alusa also announced his ‘Salem’ resignation, citing similar reasons as Illya  Frank.

The former Big Brother Africa 8 contestant went into a little more detail accusing the production team of among others “emotional blackmail, gas-lighting, manipulation and health hazards”.

“I am dedicated to my craft and have honed and mastered my skills for close to 2 decades. I must, therefore, preserve and protect it jealously.

“I, unfortunately, couldn’t bear the toxic work environment anymore. The bad leadership, emotional blackmail, gas-lighting, manipulation and health hazards, led to an environment that became impossible for me to perform my role as an Actor, and to deliver powerful moments to the role and story as a whole. It’s at this point that I felt the need to leave with my dignity intact and my head held high,” Alusa said in a statement.

He added: “I am now requesting the SALEM Production team to manage the welfare of their Actors and crew, many of whom are suffering in silence.”

Alusa, who played Melchizedek Karani for one year, has been replaced by Charles Ouda.


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A post shared by Melvin Alusa (@melvinalusa)

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