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Ofcom Will Not Investigate Diversity’s BLM Performance After 24,000 Complaints

by : Lucy Connolly on : 17 Sep 2020 12:31
Ofcom Will Not Investigate Diversity's BLM Performance After 24,000 ComplaintsOfcom Will Not Investigate Diversity's BLM Performance After 24,000 Complaintsashleybanjogram/Instagram/Britain's Got Talent/YouTube/ITV

Ofcom won’t be taking any action against Britain’s Got Talent after more than 24,000 people complained about Diversity’s Black Lives Matter performance on the show.

The former BGT winners returned to the show on September 5 with an extremely poignant and clearly necessary routine honouring the BLM movement, which at one point saw dancer Ashley Banjo being knelt on by a man dressed as a police officer – echoing the killing of George Floyd.

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Banjo, who led the performance, has previously spoken out about the ‘racial abuse’ and ‘threats’ the dance group received in the wake of the performance, which broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has now said it won’t be investigating.

You can watch Banjo discuss the response to the performance below:

An Ofcom spokesperson said, as per ITV News:

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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 challenging and potentially controversial subject, 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. We will not be taking this case on to formal investigation.

Ashley Banjo on Britain's Got TalentAshley Banjo on Britain's Got TalentITV/Britain's Got Talent/YouTube

The powerful performance featured a dance interpretation of the Black Lives Matter protests that are currently taking place across the US and worldwide, with several dancers performing with police riot shields.

Prior to Ofcom’s decision not to investigate, ITV responded to the complaints by standing by its decision to broadcast the routine. In a statement, the broadcaster described BGT as ‘an inclusive show’, which ‘showcases diversity and supports strong storytelling in all forms’.

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The statement continued:

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.

The group aimed to culminate a sense of ‘unity’ with the performance, Banjo previously explained, adding that they hoped to address the ‘difficult issues’ thrust into the spotlight this year.

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The dancer also argued the fact that people felt the need to complain highlights exactly why the performance needed to be done in the first place – a statement I couldn’t agree more with.

It’s time to face up to the systemic racism Black people face each and every day all over the world and do something about it – and if a street dance troupe feels one of the ways to do that is through an incredibly moving and powerful performance, I’m all here for it.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Film and TV, Diversity, Now, Racism, TV

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ITV News and 1 other
  1. ITV News

    Ofcom will not 'formally investigate' Diversity's BGT performance

  2. ITV

    @ITV