Ashley Banjo: It’s never OK to disbelieve mental health struggles

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
·2-min read

Ashley Banjo has said it is “never OK” to disbelieve someone who is struggling with mental health, after Piers Morgan stood by his controversial comments about the Duchess of Sussex.

The Diversity dancer and Dancing On Ice judge added that racism needs to be “consistently highlighted” so it can be abolished.

Morgan abruptly left his presenting role on Good Morning Britain after a backlash against his comments about Meghan and her headline-making interview with Oprah Winfrey.

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He said he “does not believe” Meghan’s revelation she had suicidal thoughts and stood by those comments following his departure from the show, describing the interview with Winfrey as a “diatribe of bilge”.

His comments have been criticised by mental health charity Mind and prompted Meghan to formally complain to ITV.

Banjo also appeared to respond to a statement by the Society Of Editors, in which the industry body claimed the UK media “is not bigoted and will not be swayed from its vital role holding the rich and powerful to account following the attack on the press by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”.

The industry body has since clarified its position and said: “The Society of Editors has a proud history of campaigning for freedom of speech and the vital work that journalists do in a democracy to hold power to account.

“Our statement on Meghan and Harry was made in that spirit but did not reflect what we all know: that there is a lot of work to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion.

“We will reflect on the reaction our statement prompted and work towards being part of the solution.”

Banjo wrote on Twitter: “Just for the record: 1. Racism exists at every level of our society. This needs to be consistently highlighted so it can eventually be eradicated.

“2. It is never OK to just ‘not believe’ someone who says they are struggling with mental health issues.”

Harry and Meghan previously expressed support for Banjo and Diversity after their Britain’s Got Talent performance inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Earlier this week Banjo wrote on Twitter: “Harry and Meghan told me over the phone they were there for me and they understood more than most… I’m forever thankful for that support.

“Nothing but the highest love and respect for them both.”