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Complaints over Diversity’s BGT performance reach new milestone

The dance troupe’s routine echoed the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd.

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Dance group Diversity (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Dance group Diversity (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Dance group Diversity (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The number of complaints about an episode of Britain’s Got Talent in which Diversity performed a routine inspired by Black Lives Matter has risen to 15,500, Ofcom has said.

The dance group, which won the talent show in 2009, took to the stage with a politically-charged performance during the ITV show’s semi-final earlier this month.

It saw a white police officer kneel on star and temporary BGT judge Ashley Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd.

The group all took the knee before the song Black Lives Matter by Dax began, which features the lyrics: “I can’t breathe”, the last words uttered by Mr Floyd.

The performance attracted praise and criticism from members of the public, with the number of complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom rising since the episode was broadcast.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “We are assessing this content against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”

It is the second highest number of complaints to Ofcom for a TV show since 2010, after 25,327 were made in 2018 about Celebrity Big Brother when ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett alleged she had been assaulted by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas.

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Diversity stars Ashley and Jordan Banjo (Matt Crossick/PA)

Diversity stars Ashley and Jordan Banjo (Matt Crossick/PA)

PA

Diversity stars Ashley and Jordan Banjo (Matt Crossick/PA)

Responding to the backlash, Banjo said in a post on Instagram: “In the present moment though there is still so much to say… But I will just let this performance say it for me.

“For the thousands of supportive messages of Love and inclusion – Thank you.

“And for the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance I’ve received – Thank you…

“You highlight exactly what needs to change and why this was so important to me and the rest of @diversity_official.”

Judge Alesha Dixon commented on his post: “Always proud of you.”

Banjo took Simon Cowell’s place on the judging panel for the first semi-final, while the music mogul continues to recover from back surgery.

Britain’s Got Talent continues on Saturdays at 8pm on ITV.

PA