Diversity have 'never been prouder' following ITV's backing, says Ashley Banjo
Ashley Banjo has said Diversity have “never been prouder” after ITV backed their Britain's Got Talent performance following thousands of complaints.
The dance troupe's Black Lives Matter-inspired routine - which saw a white police officer kneel on Banjo's neck echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US - performed on the show two weeks ago prompted 24,000 complaints to Ofcom.
Writing on Instagram on Saturday, 31-year-old Banjo said: "This is what change looks like. @itv stand with @diversity_official and we’ve never been prouder. This is in all the national papers today.
Read more: Alesha Dixon shares emotional response to Diversity’s BLM-inspired routine
"Thank you again to everyone that has supported us. #Diversity."
The performance also saw dancers take a knee in a protest against racism and police brutality, with Banjo accompanying his post with a picture of himself kneeling along with text reading: "We are changed by what we see. Just as we are changed when we are seen.”
In their response to viewer complaints, ITV praised Diversity for their "authentic, heartfelt" response to the issues of 2020.
“Britain’s Got Talent has always been an inclusive show, which showcases diversity and supports strong storytelling in all forms and ITV stands behind the decision to broadcast Diversity’s performance on BGT," the statement said.
On Thursday, Ofcom reported that it would not be investigating BGT over the complaints as the watchdog concluded the performance “did not raise issues which warranted investigation under our broadcasting rules”.
Read more: Ashley Banjo would do BGT routine ‘100 times over’
Ofcom said it had received approximately 24,500 complaints about the programme and that those complaining outlined a range of concerns “including that the themes of violence and racism were inappropriate for family viewing, that it expressed support for the political organisation Black Lives Matter and that it was racist towards white people”.
However, Ofcom said the central message of the dance performed by the BGT winners was “a call for social cohesion and unity”.