Queer Eye’s Tan France slams British TV for ‘paying lip service’ to diversity

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Queer Eye star Tan France has accused the British TV industry of being tokenistic when it comes to diversity.

France, originally from Doncaster, England, said the US was “lightyears ahead of the UK” in regards to diversity, calling it “embarrassing”.

He explained how he gets offers for TV work in the US “weekly” but has to “beg for scraps” in the UK.

Speaking to the PA News Agency, France said: “America isn’t obviously where it needs to be as far as representing marginalised groups. But we’re light years ahead of the UK.”

France said that the UK pays “lip service” to diversity, especially in the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests.

“If you add one person, that’s not representation – that is tokenism. I think that the US does a much better job,” he said.

“People at the head of the networks in the UK… need to really appreciate the value, the added value, that these diverse people add to their networks.”

This is not the first time Tan France has spoken up about diversity in the entertainment industry.

He previously joined other celebrities in a video demanding better for Asian and Asian American actors and calling for an end to lazy stereotypes.

France was born in Doncaster to Muslim Pakistani parents and currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He is a fashion expert that has appeared on Netflix’ reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy since 2018. This year he serves as the international editor of the Edinburgh TV Festival.

His comments about diversity follow a survey by the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity which revealed widespread racism in the UK’s film and TV industry.

Over half of performers of colour surveyed said they had experienced racism within the industry, and that many roles stereotype their race.

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