Comic Relief defends Stacey Dooley over David Lammy's 'white saviour' comments, says MP snubbed them

Stacey Dooley (Credit: Instagram)
Stacey Dooley (Credit: Instagram)

Stacey Dooley has slammed MP David Lammy, after she was criticised over a Comic Relief photo op which sees her visiting Uganda for Comic Relief.

The charity has since revealed it offered to collaborate with the Labour MP on a charity film in Africa but the politician snubbed it.

The organisation told Lammy the “offer is still open” after he criticised Stacey Dooley on Wednesday over her work on a film ahead of Red Nose Day.

Pictures posted by the filmmaker and Strictly Come Dancing winner carrying a baby boy in Africa came under scrutiny yesterday. Dooley was accused of perpetuating the ‘white saviour’ trope, and was also criticised for appearing in designer clothes.

View this post on Instagram

Here filming with Comic Relief. ❤️

A post shared by Stacey Dooley (@sjdooley) on Feb 23, 2019 at 9:52am PST

Fans took issue with the pictures, one follower telling the star: “Come on Stace I love your journalism but please check out @nowhitesaviors You have a responsibility to not perpetuate this narrative on your feed.”

Read more: Stacey Dooley lands new job after Strictly

Another added: “You should be using your platform to challenge the narrative not confirm it. Please do the right thing and take this image down.”

Others defended her, however, one saying: “Here we go. Stacey does an amazing job, sure she’ll raise a lot where charities concerned unlike most on this thread. Can’t do right for doing wrong nowadays.”

Britain’s Labour Party MP David Lammy speaks at a news conference held by The People’s Vote in London, Britain, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Britain’s Labour Party MP David Lammy speaks at a news conference held by The People’s Vote in London, Britain, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Comic Relief has applauded the documentary maker for her contribution to the annual fundraising event.

It said: “We are really grateful that Stacey Dooley, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed documentary maker, agreed to go to Uganda to discover more about projects the British people have funded there and make no apologies for this.

“She has filmed and reported on challenging issues all over the world, helping to put a much-needed spotlight on issues that affect people’s lives daily.

“In her film, people working with or supported by Comic Relief projects tell their own stories in their own words.”

Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, then waded into to the row, tweeting: “The history of colonialism in Africa means race is important. Stacey’s instagram posts continue a very long established trope of white female heroine with orphan black child with little or no agency or parents in sight. Comic relief do this because it makes people give money.

Read more: Dooley ‘not OK with people telling me what decisions to make’

“This isn’t personal and I don’t question your good motives. My problem with British celebrities being flown out by Comic Relief to make these films is that it sends a distorted image of Africa which perpetuates an old idea from the colonial era.”

But Dooley hit back, telling Lammy: “David, is the issue with me being white? (Genuine question) …because if that’s the case, you could always go over there and try raise awareness?

“Comic relief have raised over 1 billion pounds since they started. I saw projects that were saving lives with the money. Kids lives.”

Dooley was in Uganda looking at the continuing dangers of Malaria and visiting neonatal clinics.

Comic Relief airs on BBC One on March 15.