Complaints over Diversity’s BGT performance reach new milestone

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

The dance group, which won the talent show in 2009, took to the stage with a politically-charged performance during the ITV show's semi-final earlier this month.

It saw a white police officer kneel on star and temporary BGT judge Ashley Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd.

The group all took the knee before the song Black Lives Matter by Dax began, which features the lyrics: "I can't breathe", the last words uttered by Mr Floyd.

The performance attracted praise and criticism from members of the public, with the number of complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom 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 a post on Instagram: "In the present moment though there is still so much to say... But I will just let this performance say it for me.

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Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity attend the UK premier of Michael Jackson's "This Is It" at the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square in London on October 27, 2009. Four months after Jackson's sudden death, red carpets were rolled out for 18 simultaneous screenings on five continents for "This Is It," a documentary culled from more than 100 hours of never-before-seen rehearsal footage. AFP PHOTO / Carl COURT (Photo credit should read Carl Court/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: The dance troupe 'Diversity', winners of the third series of 'Britain's Got Talent 'perform their routine before the Guinness Premiership match between Saracens and Northampton Saints at Wembley Stadium on September 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: The dance troupe 'Diversity', winners of the third series of 'Britain's Got Talent 'perform their routine before the Guinness Premiership match between Saracens and Northampton Saints at Wembley Stadium on September 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: The dance troupe 'Diversity', winners of the third series of 'Britain's Got Talent 'perform their routine before the Guinness Premiership match between Saracens and Northampton Saints at Wembley Stadium on September 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: The dance troupe 'Diversity', winners of the third series of 'Britain's Got Talent 'perform their routine before the Guinness Premiership match between Saracens and Northampton Saints at Wembley Stadium on September 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)
Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity perform a one-off dance routine in London's Covent Garden to promote the launch of Disney XD a new TV channel from Disney, which hits the screens on August 31st. (Photo by David Parry/PA Images via Getty Images)
Britain'S Got Talent Winners, Diversity And 100 Young Street Dancers Preform In Covent Garden Today To Mark The Launch Of New Tv Channel From Disney 'Disney Xd'. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)
Perri Luc Kiely And Ashley Banjo, Member Of Britain'S Got Talent Winners, Diversity And 100 Young Street Dancers Preform In Covent Garden Today To Mark The Launch Of New Tv Channel From Disney 'Disney Xd'. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)
Britain'S Got Talent Winners, Diversity And 100 Young Street Dancers Preform In Covent Garden Today To Mark The Launch Of New Tv Channel From Disney 'Disney Xd'. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)
Ashley Banjo, Member Of Britain'S Got Talent Winners, Diversity And 100 Young Street Dancers Preform In Covent Garden Today To Mark The Launch Of New Tv Channel From Disney 'Disney Xd'. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)
Perri Luc Kiely, Member Of Britain'S Got Talent Winners, Diversity And 100 Young Street Dancers Preform In Covent Garden Today To Mark The Launch Of New Tv Channel From Disney 'Disney Xd'. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 05: Diversity , winner of Britain's Got Talent 2009, poses backstage on the second day of Wireless Festival at Hyde Park on July 5, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Christie Goodwin/Redferns)
Britain's Got Talent winners, dance group Diversity, (left to right, front row). Jamie McNaughton, Ian McNaughton, Mitchell Craske, Perri Luc Kiely (back group, left to right) Warren Russell, Ike Ezekwugo, Ashley Banjo, Sam Craske, Terry Smith and Matthew McNaughton at The London Studios on the South Bank. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Members of Diversity', the winners of Britain's Got Talent during a press conference at Sony HQ in Kensington, west London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Terry Smith (left) and Perri Kelly who are members of 'Diversity', the winners of Britain's Got Talent during a press conference at Sony HQ in Kensington, west London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Diversity', the winners of Britain's Got Talent, (left to right, back row) Ike Ezekwugo, Sam Craske, Jamie McNaughton, Ian McNaughton, Mitchell Craske, Ashley Banjo, Warren Russell, Terry Smith, Jordan Banjo and Matthew McNaughton, (centre, front) Mitchell Craske and Perri Kiely (centre) during a press conference at Sony HQ in Kensington, west London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 31: Members of dance troupe Diversity (Back row L-R) Ian McNaughton, Warren Russell, Terry Smith, Ike Ezekwugo, Ashley Banjo, Jordan Banjo (Front Row L-R) Sam Craske, Perri Kiely, Mitchell Craske, Jamie McNaughton and Matthew McNaughton attend a press conference after winning the live final of Britain's Got Talent at Sony Headquarters on May 31, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images)
Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity perform a one-off dance routine in London's Covent Garden to promote the launch of Disney XD a new TV channel from Disney, which hits the screens on August 31st. (Photo by David Parry/PA Images via Getty Images)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Members of Britain's Got Talent winning dance troupe Diversity launch the Fitness First Diversity Street Dance exercise class at Fitness First gym in Spitalfields, London.
Members of Britain's Got Talent winning dance act, Diversity, with members of the Saracens rugby team to announce the Saracens at Wembley The Big Day Out match against Northampton Saints, which takes place on Saturday September 12.
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Members of Britain's Got Talent winning dance troupe Diversity launch the Fitness First Diversity Street Dance exercise class at Fitness First gym in Spitalfields, London.
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Members of Britain's Got Talent winning dance troupe Diversity launch the Fitness First Diversity Street Dance exercise class at Fitness First gym in Spitalfields, London.
Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity performed at London's Westfield Shopping Centre to celebrate the official UK launch of Dragon Quest IX on Nintendo DS in association with GAME.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) meets Britain's Got Talent Winners, British dance group Diversity, following the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool.
STANDALONE Photo. Members of Britain's Got Talent winning dance act, Diversity, with members of the Saracens rugby team to announce the Saracens at Wembley � The Big Day Out match against Northampton Saints, which takes place on Saturday September 12.
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"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_official."

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.

Britain's Got Talent continues on Saturdays at 8pm on ITV.

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