Ashley Banjo made a defiant entrance on Britain’s Got Talent this weekend, walking onstage to Elton John classic I’m Still Standing.
Last weekend, a performance by dance troupe Diversity depicted Banjo being knelt on by a white ‘police officer’ in reference to the death of George Floyd at the hands of US police.
The powerful Black Lives Matter performance has since been complained about over 15,000 times, according to TV watchdog Ofcom.
The only TV incident to receive more complaints in the past decade is Celebrity Big Brother’s 2018 ‘punchgate’, which garnered over 25,000 complaints when former Emmerdale star Roxanne Pallett falsely accused Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas of hitting her.
A spokesperson for Ofcom told MailOnline last week: “We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”
Banjo addressed the backlash on Instagram.
Posting a picture of himself, boxer Antony Joshua and Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton with a caption suggesting black stars should not discuss racism, he wrote: “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.”
Banjo received a host of support from fellow entertainers and friends, including BGT colleague Alesha Dixon, who said people sending Banjo such messages could “kiss my black a***”.
JLS star Aston Merrygold also commented, saying: “It’s like that yeah! Guess it’s time to speak louder for the people that can’t quite hear!”
Banjo’s brother and Diversity colleague Jordan Banjo spoke of the response to the performance, saying though they had received positive messages, there had been some negativity too.
Talking on Wednesday’s edition of Kiss Breakfast Show, he said: “We also got bombarded with messages and articles of horrible stuff about us, about our families… I can’t speak for anyone else. It’s sad, it’s sad, genuinely.
“I feel really anxious and worried saying something like black lives matter when that’s all we want, man. Love and positivity.
“No one is saying only black lives matter, it’s all positivity and love. Let’s keep it moving.”