More than 10,000 Brits have complained to Ofcom about Diversity’s evocative Black Lives Matter-inspired performance on Britain’s Got Talent, making it the second most-complained about television moment of the past decade.
Figures – released today – show that the passionate performance, inspired by the killing of George Floyd, received more than 10,200 complaints.
The dance showed dancer Ashley Banjo acting out being arrested by a white police officer who, in a reenactment of the Floyd’s death earlier this year, kneeled on his neck while bandmates cried out, “I can’t breathe”.
Angry viewers quickly took to social media, with many accusing ITV producers of “politicising” Britain’s Got Talent.
‘Hate and ignorance’
Banjo has responded to criticism on Twitter, after he received “hate and ignorance” for his highly emotive routine.
He said: “So much to say… But I’ll Just let the performance talk. Thousands of messages of Love and support – Thank you. For the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance – Thank you. You highlight exactly what needs to change. Sending nothing but love to you all.”
He shared a quote by Martin Luther King Jr that read: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
‘Change is inevitable’
Responding to the torrent of hatred he has received in the past views, Banjo said that “change was inevitable” – and told racist critics that they “do not represent the views of the public”.
Among the messages sent to Banjo was a meme picturing the dancer alongside Lewis Hamilton and Anthony Joshua, which read: “Dear Joshua, Hamilton, Banjo and any other Black public figures. We the Great British Public will only support you if you entertain us and do not say anything about racism. Thank you for understanding.”
Banjo responded: “For the people sending this: 1. You do not represent or speak for the Great British public. 2. Silence was never and will never be an option. 3. Change is inevitable… Get used to it.”
An ITV spokesman told the Daily Mirror: ““Diversity’s performance offered their take on the extraordinary events of 2020 opening up important topics of conversation. The show was complied for a family audience.”