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Piers Morgan urges Ashley Banjo to ‘ignore haters’ after Diversity’s BLM routine on BGT

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, the 55-year-old former Britain’s Got Talent judge wrote: ‘I thought it was great. Ignore the haters, Ashley. Proud of you.’

Piers Morgan has thrown his support behind Ashley Banjo, amid the fallout over his group Diversity’s Black Lives Matter routine on Britain’s Got Talent last weekend.

As Ofcom complaints soared to 15,500 following the performance, which featured portrayed a policeman kneeling on the dancer’s neck, Piers lauded the routine.



Support: Piers Morgan has thrown his support behind Ashley Banjo, amid the fallout over his group Diversity’s Black Lives Matter routine on Britain’s Got Talent last weekend

Diversity’s routine, which narrated the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in May, had already polarised fans of the mainstream talent show last Saturday night due to its political stance.

An Ofcom spokesperson confirmed to MailOnline on Friday afternoon that BGT has received 15,500 complaints so far. On Monday the figure stood at 1,121.

The representative added: ‘We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.’

Update: Britain’s Got Talent Ofcom complaints have soared again to 15,500 as dance troupe Diversity’s Black Lives Matter performance continues to divide viewers. Pictured: Ashley Banjo

Proud: Taking to Twitter on Thursday, 55-year-old former Britain’s Got Talent judge Piers wrote, ‘I thought it was great. Ignore the haters, Ashley. Proud of you’

The new figures come after Alesha Dixon told critics to ‘kiss my black a**’ as she threw her support behind her Britain’s Got Talent co-judge Ashley in the wake of the controversy surrounding the performance.

The singer, 41, waded into the ongoing row about the politicisation of the ITV1 talent series as Banjo, 31, shared a post on Instagram from a critic telling him to keep politics out of entertainment.

Alesha commented ‘they can kiss my black a**’ under an Instagram post from a disgruntled social media user, who said: ‘We the Great British Public will only support you if you entertain us and do not say anything about racism.’

The comment referred to the BLM-inspired dance which has sparked more than 15,000 complaints to media watchdog Ofcom when it was performed on Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday night.

‘Kiss my black a**!’ The new figures come after judge Alesha Dixon, 41, threw her support behind the group and told critics to ‘kiss my black a**’ on Thursday night

Divisive: Diversity’s routine, which narrated the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in May, had already polarised fans of the talent show on Saturday night due to its political stance

Critics claimed the dance, which was a ‘take on the unprecedented events of 2020’, had politicised the entertainment show, with one Twitter user insisting ‘they are a dance group not a political movement.’

The full post – which also referred to boxer Anthony Joshua and F1 champion Lewis Hamilton – read: ‘Dear Joshua, Hamilton, Banjo and any other black public figures.

‘We the Great British Public will only support you if you entertain us and do not say anything about racism. Thank you for your understanding.’

Ashley shared a screenshot of a message written by a critic to his Instagram, and said in the caption: ‘1. You do not represent or speak for the Great British public.

New figures: An Ofcom spokesperson confirmed to MailOnline on Friday afternoon that Britain’s Got Talent has received 15,500 complaints so far. On Monday the figure stood at 1,121

‘2. Silence was never and will never be an option. 3. Change is inevitable… Get used to it.’

Alesha wasn’t the only celebrity to throw her support behind Ashley, as fellow Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden commented with a heart emoji.

JLS star Aston Merrygold added: ‘It’s like that yeah! Guess it’s time to speak louder for the people that can’t quite hear!’

Ashley’s wife Francesca took to social media to share her own thoughts on the negative reaction from some viewers, saying ‘shying away from issues’ is not the answer.

Supportive: The new figure comes after Alesha Dixon told critics to ‘kiss my black a**’ as she threw her support behind her Britain’s Got Talent co-judge Ashley

Support: The singer, 41, waded into the ongoing row as Banjo, 31, shared a post on Instagram from a critic telling him to keep politics out of entertainment

Sharing clips from the performance, she wrote; ‘On Saturday @ashleybanjogram and @diversityofficial performed this routine on @bgt, 11 years after winning the show. To call this a ‘dance routine’ is an understatement to say the least.

‘This piece was a take on the unprecedented events of 2020, from Covid 19 to BLM, from clapping for carers as a nation to coming together in our own families and finding the light in the darkest of times.

‘Some may find this uncomfortable, may feel it inappropriate, but shying away from issues is not going to bring about the change that is so long overdue.’

Francesca went on: ‘Watching this I could not be prouder of my husband.

Calling it out: Ashley posted a comment from one troll who referred to him, Anthony Joshua and Lewis Hamilton, and said they shouldn’t ‘say anything about racism’

Response: Ashley wrote back, ‘1. You do not represent or speak for the Great British public. 2. Silence was never and will never be an option. 3. Change is inevitable… Get used to it’

Encouragement: Alesha wasn’t the only celebrity to throw her support behind Ashley, as Amanda Holden, Ashley’s brother Jordan, Judi Love, and Aston Merrygold also commented

‘Rose and Micah will watch this and when they are old enough to understand they will be proud that their Dad created something so poignant and used his voice to stand up for what is right. We are one race, the human race.’

On Thursday, Diversity’s performance became the second most complained about TV moment of the past 10 years.

Ofcom complaints reached over 10,000 knocking the Kim Woodburn/Coleen Nolan argument – which took place on Loose Women in 2018 – off the second spot with only 7,912 complaints.

The first remains the Celebrity Big Brother ‘punchgate’ – also in 2018 – which saw Roxanne Pallett wrongly accuse Ryan Thomas of hitting her. This garnered 25,327 complaints.

Reaction: Ashley’s wife Francesca also took to social media to share her own thoughts on the negative reaction from some viewers, saying ‘shying away from issues’ is not the answer

Proud wife: Francesca wrote, ‘Some may find this uncomfortable, may feel it inappropriate, but shying away from issues is not going to bring about the change that is so long overdue’

His brother and co-star Jordan Banjo got teary as he discussed the ‘horrible’ messages the group have received on his Wednesday KISS radio show.

Talking about the Ofcom complaints and ‘horrible’ messages the group have received from trolls, Jordan fought back tears on his Wednesday KISS radio show with co-dancer Perri Kiely.

Perri started by saying: ‘On Saturday we performed with Diversity on Britain’s Got Talent.

‘Our performance covered the events of this year and the appalling messages that need to be spoken about.’

To which Jordan added: ‘Of course you get some critiques but normally it’s focused on the dance. But this one was different, it was really important, it was special to us.

Topical: Diversity’s routine, which narrated the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in May, had already polarised fans on Saturday night due to its overtly political stance

‘We are all about positivity and love and we got so much positivity and love back from this one.’

Jordan said that the group has been ‘bombarded’ with messages, he continued: ‘Horrible stuff about us, about our families, about how even now Diversity not diverse…

By Ryan Smith Roxanne Simons For Mailonline

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