The UK’s media watchdog Ofcom was flooded with hundreds of complaints from angry TV viewers after a Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement-inspired dance routine was performed on Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) over the weekend.
Ofcom has received some 2,966 complaints over the episode of the show aired on Saturday night, the watchdog said. Almost all of the complaints have been related to the BLM-inspired routine, performed by dance troupe Diversity.
“We are assessing these complaints against our broadcasting rules, before deciding whether or not to investigate,” an Ofcom spokesperson said Tuesday. The watchdog did not elaborate on the specific details of the complaints.
The supposedly scandalous dance routine was led by Ashley Banjo, who is also a BGT judge. According to the performer, Diversity “wanted to express how the events of this year have made us feel.”
So much to say… But I’ll Just let the performance talk. Thousands of messages of Love and support – Thank you 🖤 For the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance – Thank you. You highlight exactly what needs to change. Sending nothing but love to you all 🙏🏽🇬🇧 #Diversitypic.twitter.com/3kP0ymUj88
— Ashley Banjo (@AshleyBanjo) September 6, 2020
During the routine, another performer dressed as a police officer kneeled on Banjo’s neck, in a simulation of the death of George Floyd in US police custody in May, which sparked a mass protest movement against police brutality. The dance was accompanied by a narrative that included such lines as “What we thought we knew, some clearly didn’t. Black Lives Matter.”
BLM protests have been raging across the US since May and in some cases have devolved into violence and rioting. Some of that violence has spilled over into other countries, including the UK. BLM protesters have attacked and toppled various landmarks related to Britain’s colonial past and even replaced the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol with a monument of their own. The new statue, however, was promptly removed by the city council.
The performance triggered a mixed response on social media, with some viewers praising the “art” and the political statement.
I absolutely loved your performance last night! So emotive and a very important message to get across. I had goosepimples watched, so proud of you all! I thought you were brilliant as a judge last night, just as you are on dancing on ice.
— Kerry (@Kerry_Sheppard) September 6, 2020
I think they did get it right. Addressing race isn’t political it’s human. There was also patriot positivity in there referencing the NHS and more. We have to love each other. And we have to do more; we have to listen ❤️❤️❤️
— AndrewTVAM (@AndrewTVAM) September 6, 2020
Others, however, were not impressed, accusing the group of turning the entertainment show into political theatrics and questioning the meaning of the whole message.
Appalling to use a light entertainment show to indulge in cheap political theatrics. Fortunately, I watched a recording, so was able to skip straight through the diversity segment.
— David Lynch 🇬🇧 (@westloats1950) September 7, 2020
not sure it is appropriate for a Saturday family show, can you not see that your putting out negativity by suggesting some need to change? I’m a huge diversity fan and admire you for your creativity and talent just not sure you got it right this time though
— Lesley Collins (@jazz9765) September 6, 2020
I absolutely love Diversity & completely understand the BLM message but that felt uncomfortable. Not sure it was appropriate to be airing political views & taking the knee on this show. Judgement error I think 😞
— HelenMW31 (@HelenMw31) September 6, 2020
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