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

Lucy Devine

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

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Ofcom has issued a statement in response to complaints over Diversity's performance on Britain's Got Talent last week.

The broadcasting watchdog said the performance - which prompted 24,501 complaints "did not raise any issues which warranted investigation" adding that the content was "clearly artistic expression representing Diversity's response to the events of 2020."

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In the document, they explain: "Ofcom received approximately 24,5001 complaints about the above programme.

"Complainants outlined a range of concerns about Diversity's performance, 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 a number of messages of support and praise for the performance. Ofcom has assessed this programme against the relevant rules in the Broadcasting Code ('the Code').

"Our assessment is that this programme did not raise any issues which warranted investigation.

"In our view, Diversity's performance was an artistic expression of topical social issues and did not contain any content which was racist, unsuitably violent or otherwise inappropriate in the context of this programme."

Ofcom received over 24,000 complaints (Credit: ITV)
Ofcom received over 24,000 complaints (Credit: ITV)

The routine was performed earlier this month and 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 performance 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 thousands of complaints, with "almost all" relating to the performance.

Earlier this week, ITV also issued a statement over the backlash. It read: "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.

"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."

ITV also published a statement defending the performance (Credit: ITV)
ITV also published a statement defending the performance (Credit: ITV)

Ashley, meanwhile, also broke his silence over the backlash via social media. 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. 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter' - Martin Luther King Jr."

He also spoke out about how 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.

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

Topics: News, Britain's Got Talent

Lucy Devine
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