Entertainment

Ofcom to take no action over Diversity's Black Lives Matter performance on BGT


Ofcom has confirmed that it will not take any action over Diversity’s anti-racism performance on Britain’s Got Talent.

The media watchdog said that it received around 24,500 complaints over the dance troupe’s performance on the ITV talent show on September 5.

It showed a depiction of the biggest events in 2020, such as the coronavirus pandemic and recent civil rights protests.

One focus of negativity was over the group’s portrayal of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in America earlier this year.

The routine featured Diversity lead dancer Ashley Banjo having his neck knelt on by a white performer.

Complainants accused the dance group of being racist towards white people and encouraging violence against police.

Diversity were also accused of showing their support for the ‘ political organisation’ Black Lives Matter.

There were supposed concerns over the themes of violence and racism, which were deemed “inappropriate for family viewing”.

A figure dressed as a police officer kneels on Ashley Banjo during the performance

Ofcom has dismissed the complaints made about the performance and have decided to not pursue the issues raised.

A spokesperson for the watchdog said: “We carefully considered a large number of complaints about this artistic routine, an area where freedom of expression is particularly important.

“Diversity’s performance referred to challenge and potentially controversial subjects, and in our view its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity.

“Any depictions of violence by the performers were highly stylised and symbolic of recent global events, and there was no explicit reference to any particular political organisation – but rather a message that the lives of black people matter.

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“We will not be taking this case on to a formal investigation.”

Ashley Banjo said he received racial abuse amid the backlash over the performance

ITV stood by Diversity over the complaints and praised the group for their “authentic, heartfelt” performance.

It came after Ashley Banjo said that he received racial abuse for his part in the routine.

The dancer also said that the group had been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the performance after receiving “hundreds of thousands of messages, comments, DMs and just interactions in the street.”

A spokesperson for ITV said: “Britain’s Got Talent has always been an inclusive show, which showcases diversity and supports strong storytelling in all forms and ITV stands behind the decision to broadcast Diversity’s performance on BGT.

“Ashley and the group are a great example of the talent, creativity and diversity of modern Britain and their performance was an authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020.”





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