The Catch-up: How the Stacey Dooley and David Lammy race row escalated

What happened?

Stacey Dooley and Labour’s David Lammy are involved in a Twitter argument after the MP criticised the TV presenter for taking part in filming in Africa for Comic Relief. Mr Lammy accused Ms Dooley of encouraging ‘tired and unhelpful stereotypes’ and perpetuating a ‘white saviour’ narrative after she shared images of her taking part in a documentary in Uganda. Ms Dooley hit back by asking the MP if the issue was ‘with me being white’, and inviting him to travel to Africa himself to work with Comic Relief.

How did the row escalate?

After Ms Dooley invited Mr Lammy to take part in Comic Relief’s efforts himself, the charity claimed it had approached him about making a film in Africa in the past but he had ignored them. They said the offer was ‘still open’. But the MP insisted Comic Relief’s statement was not true, tweeting that he met with representatives twice in his office and called on them to improve their representation of African countries.

Mr Lammy claimed Comic Relief had “fallen short” of what he called its “public duty” to promote racial equality. He said: “Comic Relief should be helping to establish an image of African people as equals to be respected rather than helpless victims to be pitied. It would therefore be better for people who actually live there to speak about the continent they know. Many black Brits feel deeply uncomfortable with Comic Relief’s poverty porn. It’s my job to represent their views, however uncomfortable. They want their children to have rounded views about Africa and these types of campaign woefully fail to do that.”

This is not the first time Comic Relief has been accused of perpetuating race stereotypes. The charity cut back on its use of celebrities in appeals after an aid watchdog criticised its portrayal of ‘poverty tourism’ last year. It came in for particular criticism for a campaign featuring Ed Sheeran in Liberia, which won an award for ‘most offensive’ campaign.

Read more about this story
David Lammy is right to call out the ‘white saviour’ narrative (Independent)
Phillip Schofield slams David Lammy over Comic Relief row(HuffPost)
Lammy ‘refused offer to make Comic Relief film’ (Evening Standard)

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