Ofcom will not investigate over Diversity's Black Lives Matter dance on 'BGT'

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Diversity's dance divided audiences. (Syco/Thames)
Diversity's dance on Britain's Got Talent divided audiences. (Syco/Thames)

Britain’s Got Talent will not be investigated following a backlash over dance troupe Diversity’s Black Lives Matter-themed performance on the show.

The emotional routine – which told the story of the death of George Floyd – sparked controversy and triggered more than 24,000 complaints.

But broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has concluded that the programme “did not raise issues which warranted investigation under our broadcasting rules”.

Read more: Ashley Banjo speaks out after reaction to Diversity dance routine

It said the central message of the dance performed by Ashley Banjo and co was “a call for social cohesion and unity”.

Sharing its assessment, 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”.

Ofcom also received numerous messages of support and praise for the dance.

A spokesperson said: “We carefully considered a large number of complaints about this artistic routine, an area where freedom of expression is particularly important.

“Diversity’s performance referred to challenging and potentially controversial subjects, and in our view, its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity.

Diversity performed a dance inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement on 'Britain's Got Talent'. (Syco/Thames)
Diversity performed a dance inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement on Britain's Got Talent. (Syco/Thames)

“Any depictions of violence by the performers were highly stylised and symbolic of recent global events, and there was no explicit reference to any particular political organisation – but rather a message that the lives of black people matter.”

The performance aired on the ITV show earlier this month and divided viewers, with many calling it moving and thought-provoking but others suggesting it was too politicised.

Read more: Alesha Dixon backs Diversity after BGT dance sparks complaints

The dance, in which a figure in police uniform placed his knee on Banjo’s neck, became the second most complained about TV incident of the decade behind Celebrity Big Brother’s 2018 ‘punchgate’ controversy.

Banjo addressed the backlash on Instagram.

Posting a picture of himself, boxer Anthony Joshua and Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton with a caption suggesting black stars should not discuss racism, he wrote: “For the people sending this: 1. You do not represent or speak for the Great British public. 2. Silence was never and will never be an option. 3. Change is inevitable... Get used to it.”

The dancer received a host of support from fellow entertainers and friends, including BGT colleague Alesha Dixon, who said people sending Banjo such messages could “kiss my black a***”.

JLS star Aston Merrygold also commented, saying: “It’s like that yeah! Guess it’s time to speak louder for the people that can’t quite hear!”

Banjo is standing in as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent while Simon Cowell is recovering from back surgery.

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