Nearly 200 complaints were made to the BBC by those who were “unhappy” with the decision to include a same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing.
Professionals Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima teamed up to perform a moving, bare-footed routine to Emeli Sande’s live performance on the Results Show earlier this month.
But 189 people complained after finding the performance offensive.
In a statement the BBC said: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have been able to facilitate the dance between Johannes and Graziano during the Professionals’ dance.
“They are dancers first and foremost, and their sex had no bearing on their routine.”
After the routine Di Prima tweeted “REPRESENTATION always matters” as he described the dance as an “unforgettable moment.”
The complaints come after a recent RadioTimes.com poll found Brits are divided when it comes to the inclusion of same-sex couples on the BBC ballroom show, with 50.6 per cent of the 6,200 surveyed saying they are not in favour.
— Graziano Di Prima (@GrazianoDiPrima) November 3, 2019
Despite proving divisive, a spokesperson for Stonewall told RadioTimes.com that “it’s great that half of the people would want to see [same-sex couples] on Strictly”.
They said it would have an “absolutely huge” impact on changing opinion on the LGBTQ+ community.
“There are always barriers when something is new but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen,” they said. “With some of the big moments [on TV] we’ve seen people’s opinions shifted because of popular culture.
“In 1994 the Brookside kiss. There are huge cultural moments and it helps to change opinion. Quite a lot of the time people don’t feel like they know any LGBT people or what might be happening in their lives so representation is really important not only for people who aren’t LGBT to build their understanding of their lives, but for LGBT too to find themselves represented in those spaces that are incredibly culturally important.”
Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One, Saturday at 7pm