ENTERTAINMENT
16/09/2020 12:17 AM AEST | Updated 16/09/2020 12:24 AM AEST

ITV Stands By Diversity's 'Authentic And Heartfelt' Britain's Got Talent Performance

Troupe leader Ashley Banjo recently shared shocking examples of racist abuse he's received since the performance aired.

ITV has voiced its support for the dance troupe Diversity, following their performance during the first of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals.

When BGT returned to our screens earlier this month, the former winners returned to the stage, with a performance inspired by the events of 2020.

This included references to both the coronavirus pandemic and the killing of George Floyd, as well as the global protests in support of Black Lives Matter that followed.

Although the group’s routine won widespread praise from viewers, in the weeks since it aired, it has been reported that more than 20,000 people have complained to Ofcom, while group leader Ashley Banjo has spoken out about racist abuse he’s been subjected to since the performance.

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Diversity performing on Britain's Got Talent earlier this month

Speaking in defence of Diversity’s performance, an ITV spokesperson said on Tuesday: “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 previously received public support from BGT star Alesha Dixon, as well as Piers Morgan, who was a judge on the talent show when the troupe was crowned champions in 2009.

Ashley Banjo recently told his Instagram followers: “We’re feeling positive, proud, happy, confident and we stand by every single decision that we made with that performance.”

PA
Ashley Banjo

Since then, he has posted shocking examples of the racist comments that he and his fellow performers have received on social media since the performance aired.

“Please don’t worry about or feel sorry for me,” he insisted. “Feel sorry for the people that endure this kind of abuse and have no voice or platform. Feel sorry for the people that have been singled out, abused and in some cases murdered because of the colour of their skin.

“The only saving grace is that this is the vast minority... But for all the people asking or wondering – yes [racism] is very real and yes it does exist.”

As well as performing during the first semi-final, Ashley is currently serving as a judge on BGT, filling in for Simon Cowell, who is recovering from surgery on his back.