Ofcom defends Diversity over BGT performance and won't be investigating after complaints

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 17 September 2020
Ashley Banjo

Ashley Banjo

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has backed ITV and Diversity after the dance troupe's powerful performance on 'Britain's Got Talent'

Ofcom won't be investigating Diversity's powerful performance on 'Britain's Got Talent'.

The organisation has responded after receiving over 22,000 complaints about the dance troupe's recent Black Lives Matter-inspired routine – which narrated the death of George Floyd, among other recent events – and have confirmed they won't be taking any action.

In a firm statement, Ofcom said:

"We carefully considered a large number of complaints about this artistic routine, an area where freedom of expression is particularly important.

"Diversity's performance referred to challenging and potentially controversial subjects, and in our view, its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity.

"Any depictions of violence by the performers were highly stylised and symbolic of recent global events, and there was no explicit reference to any particular political organisation – but rather a message that the lives of black people matter.

"We will not be taking this case on to formal investigation."

Ofcom's statement comes after ITV backed Diversity over the backlash, and insisted the performance was an "authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020".

In a statement published on their website, an ITV spokesman said: "'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."

Diversity member Ashley Banjo is currently also a stand-in judge on the 'BGT' panel after Simon Cowell was unable to film the semi-finals after breaking his back in an electric bike accident.

In response to criticism over the powerful performance, Ashley has said the backlash shows why the routine was so important.

He said: "A lot of the comments showed just why this performance was needed.

"Racism is very real. I knew it before, and I definitely know it now. After this performance, everything that we've received it's been overwhelming in a negative sense sometimes.

"It's been tough ... I'm feeling so happy that we opened it up and if that's what it takes it's a price I'm willing to pay."

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