The ITV show has received more than 15,500 complaints after broadcasting the performance from dance group Diversity, which was inspired by the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests around the world.
Underscored by Tomfoolery’s viral poem “The Great Realisation”, the performance – broadcast on 5 September – saw group leader Banjo pinned down by a police officer, with the dance troupe going on to take the knee at the words: “Black Lives Matter.”
Many viewers who complained criticised the routine for being “too political” for a Saturday night entertainment programme.
On Sunday night (13 September), Banjo took to Instagram to discuss the response to the dance.
“What’s up everyone,” he began, “I just wanted to do a quick video just to address some issues, it has been a crazy week and I have been a bit quiet on social been living life, but now I feel is the time to come out and say a few things…”
Banjo thanked fans for their support, saying he feels “positive, proud, happy and confident” about the performance and emphasising that the negative responses have been “in the minority”.
He said he had received “racial abuse to threats, to just some really nasty stuff".
“I am not going to give it any more time than it deserves,” added Banjo. “All of the nastiness and the racism shows exactly why this performance was needed and exactly why this conversation has now arisen from it. Racism is very real, especially after this performance.”
Other members of Diversity said they had been “bombarded” by hateful messages from trolls in the days since the TV event.
ITV have so far stood by the performance, arguing that it opened up “important topics of conversation” and met the criteria for family viewing.