TV regulator Ofcom has announced it will not be investigating a broadcast of Britain’s Got Talent featuring a performance inspired by the Black Lives Matter moment.
The organisation received over 24,500 complaints about a routine staged by dance troupe Diversity, which contained references to the death of George Floyd. At one point, a figure dressed as a police officer was shown kneeling on Diversity leader Ashley Banjo.
In a 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.”
In its assessment of the case, the regulator added: “Given the heightened awareness and discussion of issues related to race and racism following the recent worldwide anti-racism protests, Ofcom considered that featuring these subjects in the programme would have been in line with audience expectations.”
Ofcom also confirmed that complaints about the routine revolved around four claims: that it was racist against white people, that it portrayed the police in a negative fashion, was unsuitable for a family audience, and that it “expressed support for a political organisation” in Black Lives Matter.
Referring to Ofcom’s decision, Ashley Banjo – who is currently sitting as a judge on the show – thanked “everyone who stood by” the dance troupe. Speaking on Instagram, he said: “Creativity is always a leap of faith. All I did what was what felt right and I’d do it 100 times over.”
Speaking previously about the performance, ITV said: “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.”
Britain’s Got Talent airs Saturdays on ITV at 8pm. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV Guide.