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BBC presenter Dooley defends African charity trip after 'white saviour' row

Stacey Dooley on a Comic Relief trip to Africa
Stacey Dooley on a Comic Relief trip to Africa
David Lammy MP

By Gabrielle Fagan

Stacey Dooley has received support following the "white saviour" row over her Comic Relief visit to Uganda.

Labour MP David Lammy accused the Strictly Come Dancing winner of perpetuating "tired and unhelpful stereotypes" after she posted photos from her trip to film a documentary.

Mr Lammy said the 31-year-old investigative reporter was reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes about Africa.

He said: "The world does not need any more white saviours. As I've said before, this just perpetuates tired and unhelpful stereotypes. Let's instead promote voices from across the continent of Africa and have serious debate."

Mr Lammy said his issue was not "personal" with Dooley and that he does not question her "good motives".

Instead, he said he had a problem with "British celebrities" being flown out to Africa by Comic Relief to make films which send "a distorted image" of the continent and perpetuate "an old idea from the colonial era".

Dooley replied and invited Mr Lammy to travel to Africa himself.

She said: "David, is the issue with me being white? (Genuine question) ...because if that's the case, you could always go over there and try to raise awareness? Comic Relief have raised over £1bn since they started. I saw projects that were saving lives with the money. Kids' lives."

Mr Lammy, who is of Guyanese descent, said "many black" Britons are "deeply uncomfortable" with Comic Relief's "poverty porn".

Casualty actress Amanda Mealing, who plays Connie Beauchamp in the BBC medical drama, has just returned from a trip to health centres in Ghana for WaterAid's Water Effect Appeal.

She said celebrities had to walk "a fine line".

But she said of the controversy around presenter Dooley: "I think that's quite unfair on Stacey Dooley, really.

"You can't have a go at us in the UK and the West because of the postcode lottery of being born here in different circumstances and not there."

Mealing added: "I don't think Stacey Dooley was doing that and I definitely wasn't doing that."

Meanwhile, Olly Murs, who has worked with Unicef, told ITV's This Morning show: "I can see the arguments that people have put forward but for me personally, I have only the best intentions to go over there and use my profile to help raise awareness and help save lives.

"That's what Unicef was all about. It was amazing for me to see the benefits of where this money was going and to tell everyone their money was going to a really good cause."

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