Ashley Banjo increased security to protect family in wake of racist reaction to Diversity's 'BGT' BLM performance

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 06: Ashley Banjo attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2021 at Television Centre on June 06, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Ashley Banjo had to 'beef up' security to protect his family. (Getty Images)

Ashley Banjo has revealed he had to increase security to protect his family after being subjected to racist abuse and death threats after Diversity's Black Lives Matter dance on Britain’s Got Talent.

The dance troupe have just scooped the Must-See Moment Award of 2020 at the TV Baftas for their performance inspired by the death of George Floyd on the ITV talent show - which prompted more than 25,000 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom as well as winning praise for highlighting the BLM movement.

Read more: Ashley Banjo shares photo of his kids joking 'that should confuse the racists'

Banjo told the Mirror: "After the routine there was so much negativity. At one point I think I was counting 70 to 100 tweets a minute. You get abusive messages and threats - ‘We know where you train, we know where you live’.

"We had to beef up our security system, just to make everyone who was home alone feel safer.

“When it was all kicking off my wife rang me and wanted to check how to set the alarm, what beams were where and where the keys were.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 06:   Jordan Banjo (L) and Ashley Banjo, accepting Virgin Medias Must-See Moment award for Diversity's performance on
Jordan and Ashley Banjo accept Virgin Media's Must-See Moment award for Diversity's performance on Britain's Got Talent. (Getty Images)

The dancer, TV presenter and BGT judge is married to fellow dancer Francesca Abbott and they share two-year-old daughter Rose and one-year-old son Micah.

Accepting the Bafta Award he said: "Thank you to everyone who stood by us. Every phone call, text, comment, DM, you guys made the difference to what was a really dark time.

“Being in the storm of 30,000 complaints and just a torrent of racially charged abuse, threats, all of it, it was a dark time and that support made all the difference.

Ashley Banjo and his wife Francesca Abbott. (Getty Images)
Ashley Banjo and his wife Francesca Abbott. (Getty Images)

“In a way, I have to say thank you to the people that complained, the people that did all of that abuse because you showed the truth. You showed exactly why this performance, this moment, was necessary."

Diversity found fame after winning the third series of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. Other members include Ashley’s brother Jordan and Perri Kiely.

Their performance on the ITV talent show on 5 September, 2020 was watched by more than five million people on the Saturday evening family entertainment show.

Inspired by the death of George Floyd, the emotional performance included a moment when lead dancer Ashley Banjo lay beneath a figure in police uniform who placed his knee on Banjo’s neck.

Read more: Ashley Banjo 'worried' about his safety in aftermath of Diversity's BGT performance

Floyd died aged 46 after a white Minneapolis police officer was seen pinning him to the ground by kneeling on his neck as he pleaded for air.

Officer Derek Chauvin has now been found guilty of manslaughter and both second and third-degree murder.

Following Floyd’s death, anti-racism protests were held around the world.

Watch: Diversity's BLM dance is now award-winning