BLM dance routine on Britain’s Got Talent triggers 15,500 complaints

The number of complaints about an episode of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) in which Diversity performed a routine inspired by Black Lives Matter has risen to 15,500, Ofcom has said.

The dance group, who won the talent show in 2009, took to the stage with a politically charged performance during the ITV show’s semi-finals this month.

It depicted a white police officer kneeling on the Diversity star and temporary BGT judge Ashley Banjo, echoing the killing of the unarmed black man George Floyd in the US. The group all took the knee before the start of the song Black Lives Matter by Dax, which includes the lyric “I can’t breathe”, the last words uttered by Floyd.

The performance attracted praise and criticism from members of the public, with the number of complaints to the broadcasting watchdog rising since the episode was broadcast. An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “We are assessing this content against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”

Responding to the backlash, Banjo said in an Instagram post: “In the present moment though there is still so much to say … But I will just let this performance say it for me.

“For the thousands of supportive messages of love and inclusion – thank you. And for the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance I’ve received – thank you … You highlight exactly what needs to change and why this was so important to me and the rest of [Diversity].”

The BGT judge Alesha Dixon commented on his post: “Always proud of you.”

Banjo took Simon Cowell’s place on the judging panel for the first semi-final, while the music mogul continues to recover from back surgery.