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BBC Hit With 500 Complaints Over Black Lives Matter Tribute In NYE Firework Display

BBC Hit With 500 Complaints Over Black Lives Matter Tribute In NYE Firework Display

The BBC has received 500 complaints from viewers over its Black Lives Matter tribute during the televised New Year's Eve fireworks display.

After the broadcaster's internal regulator released its most recent fortnightly complaints report, it was revealed that the fireworks display featured on Happy New Year Live! received 500 complaints.

During the programme, drones were used to create a giant displays references some of the biggest events from the year. Viewers watched as the drones were used to create the clenched-fist symbol in the sky.

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The fireworks display featured the Black Lives Matter fist symbol (Credit: BBC)
The fireworks display featured the Black Lives Matter fist symbol (Credit: BBC)

Following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in May, protesters around the world, including the UK, came together in support of Black Lives Matter.

Footage from the scene captured by horrified onlookers showed Floyd being restrained by an officer with his knee upon Floyd's neck. Four police officers were fired following Floyd's death.

The viewers who contacted the BBC said they were "unhappy the New Year fireworks display referenced Black Lives Matter."

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Black Lives Matter protesters in London following George Floyd's death (Credit: PA)
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In September, ITV also received complaints for after Diversity performed a Black Lives Matter inspired performance on Britain's Got Talent. While many viewers supported the anti-racism message in the performance, Ofcom registered more than 24,000 complaints. ITV later posted a statement in support of the performance across their social media networks.

In the BBC's Happy New Year Live! Show, a male voice can be heard reciting a poem that began: "In the year of 2020 a new virus came our way. We knew what must be done, and so to help we hid away.

"Old habits became extinct and they made way for the new. And every simple act of kindness was now given its due."

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The fireworks display referenced the biggest moments of the year (Credit: PA)
The fireworks display referenced the biggest moments of the year (Credit: PA)

The show referenced the coronavirus pandemic, including the sound of the British public applauding NHS workers, clips from national news reports and the words "you're on mute" in reference to our new normal of never-ending Zoom calls. Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised millions of pounds for the NHS by walking in his garden, was among those honoured.

More than 300 drones were incorporated into the 10-minute show, which were flown around the O2 arena and Wembley Stadium after the annual fireworks display at the London Eye was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: Black Lives Matter, News, BBC

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Gregory Robinson

Gregory is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, he has worked for both print and online publications and is particularly interested in TV, (pop) music and lifestyle. He loves Madonna, teen dramas from the 90s and prefers tea over coffee. Get in touch [email protected]