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ITV Issue Statement Defending Diversity Following 'Britain's Got Talent' Backlash

ITV Issue Statement Defending Diversity Following 'Britain's Got Talent' Backlash

ITV has issued a statement following the backlash over Diversity's performance on Britain's Got Talent last weekend.

During last week's show, Diversity performed a powerful Black Lives Matter-inspired routine. You can watch it below:


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The performance saw lead dancer Ashley Banjo lying on his stomach with his arms behind his back, while another Diversity member - playing a policeman - knelt on his neck.

The routine was a reference to the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis in May.

Following the show, Ofcom reported there were 15,000 complaints, with "almost all" relating to the performance.

Now, ITV has issued a statement over the backlash. It reads: "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.

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Ofcom received over 15,000 complaints after the show (Credit: ITV)
Ofcom received over 15,000 complaints after the show (Credit: ITV)

"Ashley and the group are a great example of the talent, creativity and diversity of modern Britain and their performance was an authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020."

Ashley broke his silence over the backlash via social media last week. On Instagram, he wrote: "Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

"My truth, my platform, my art. I've always tried to create not only to entertain but also to inspire... That will never change.

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Ofcom Issues Statement Over Diverity's Performance After 24,000 Complaints

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Ashley broke his silence and defended the performance (Credit: ITV)
Ashley broke his silence and defended the performance (Credit: ITV)
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"'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter' - Martin Luther King Jr.

"I'm so grateful and overwhelmed by all of the love and support but also by the amount of conversation this performance has thrown up. 2020 has been such a historical year. One day we will look back and realise it was the start of real change...

"Sending out nothing but love and positivity to everyone reading this post."

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In a later post, Ashley also explained he had received racial abuse following the performance. Posting screengrabs he wrote: "I didn't want to even shed light on any of this directly. But here's just a small selection from the past week.

"And please don't worry about or feel sorry for me... Feel sorry for the people that endure this kind of abuse and have no voice or platform.

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"Feel sorry for the people that have been singled out, abused and in some cases murdered because of the colour of their skin.

"The only saving grace is that this is the vast minority... But for all the people asking or wondering - yes it is very real and yes it does exist."

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: TV News, Britain's Got Talent, ITV

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Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at [email protected]