Stacey Dooley: David Lammy not interested in having a conversation over "white saviour" row

Stacey Dooley has claimed David Lammy was never interested in having a conversation with her about the Comic Relief ‘race row’.

The Strictly Come Dancing winner and documentary maker was accused by the Labour MP of being portrayed as a “white saviour” in a film she made for the charity highlighting poverty in Uganda.

Dooley, 32, hinted Lammy had only been interested in promoting his own political agenda when he sparked the debate.

Stacey Dooley in the winners photo area at the Virgin British Academy Television Awards (BAFTA) held at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/ EMPICS Entertainment
Stacey Dooley at the Virgin British Academy Television Awards (Credit: Doug Peters/ EMPICS Entertainment)

Speaking at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Dooley responded to an audience member’s question about the incident, saying: “We should have the conversation.

“I’m a reasonable rational woman. If David had picked up the phone and said, ‘Stacey can I get 20 minutes of your time - I really want to have a conversation about this. I’d have said, ‘David, no problem of course...’

Read more: Comic Relief defends Stacey Dooley over David Lammy's 'white saviour' comments, says MP snubbed them

She added: “David was very vocal... I don’t shy away from this conversation.”

The TV presenter insisted her priority had been to help fight malaria in Uganda and to encourage people to donate money to Comic Relief.

Dooley said: “I have to prioritise the contributors on the ground. I have to prioritise those that I spent time with. The family gave verbal consent, they gave written consent, the Ugandan doctor text me and said thank you so much for making this film. Their opinion is more important to me than David Lammy. I have to make sure that the feel happy and they were happy.

“It’s great to be idealistic, but you’ve also got to be realistic. £63 million is going to save countless children’s lives. And I understand that you have to portray Africa - you need to show the entrepreneurial kids that are doing really well in Lagos and Busia, and this middle class existence in Africa.

“But that’s not going to make people pick up the phone and donate 20 quid.”

She added: “I didn’t say we’ve done nothing wrong. I said I’m happy with my behaviour.”

Read more: 'That in itself is racist!': Phillip Schofield defends Stacey Dooley in David Lammy row

Dooley became embroiled in a race row when she posted a picture of herself holding a young Ugandan child on social media during her trip on behalf of Comic Relief.

Lammy accused her of perpetuating the a “white saviour” stereotype.

She hit back at the time inviting the MP to go to Uganda himself to help raise awareness for Comic Relief.

Dooley’s film about malaria aired on Red Nose Day 2019 in March and the charity event has raised £63.9million this year.

Comic Relief founder and Love Actually director Richard Curtis told MPs this week that the event is going to be cutting back on using celebrities in its appeals.