Ashley Banjo speaks out as Diversity performance nears most complaints of decade

Simon Cowell replacement for Britain's Got Talent

Ashley Banjo has addressed the number of complaints against Diversity's performance on Britain's Got Talent, as it nears becoming the most complained about TV moment of the decade.

The dance troupe's Black Lives Matter-inspired routine has so far prompted more than 23,000 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

It is the second highest number for a TV show since 2010, after 25,327 were made in 2018 about Celebrity Big Brother when ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett alleged she had been assaulted by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas.

Banjo, 31, shared a photo of himself with his daughter Rosie on Instagram.

He wrote: "Just me and Rosie patiently watching as we head for the number 1 spot.

"In other news though, I was out and about today and felt so much love from people.

"Never let the minority warp the reality... This country really is Great #Diversity #ofcom"

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) meets (L to R) Anthony McPartlin, Declan Donnelly, Ashley Banjo and Perri Kiely attends the Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success awards at Odeon Leicester Square on March 12, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett - WPA Pool/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)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Ashley Banjo of Diversity attends a photocall to launch Disney XD at Covent Garden on August 6, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Ashley Banjo (top) and Perri Luc Kiely (bottom) of Diversity attend a photocall to launch Disney XD at Covent Garden on August 6, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Judges Adam Garcia, Kimberly Wyatt and Ashley Banjo appear on Sky TV's Got To Dance at the Maidstone Studios in Kent. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Ashley Banjo and Jordan Banjo attend the National Television Awards 2012 at the 02 Arena on January 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 03: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Perri Luc Kiely and Ashley Banjo of Diversity perform during the 2012 Digitized: In a Game Tour on stage at Nottingham Capital FM Arena on April 3, 2012 in Nottingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)
NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 03: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Perri Luc Kiely, Ashley Banjo and Mitchell Craske of Diversity perform during the 2012 Digitized: In a Game Tour on stage at Nottingham Capital FM Arena on April 3, 2012 in Nottingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Ashley Banjo of dance troupe Diversity performs at MEN Arena on April 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Ashley Banjo of dance troupe Diversity performs at MEN Arena on April 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Ashley Banjo of dance troupe Diversity performs at MEN Arena on April 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Ashley Banjo of dance troupe Diversity performs at MEN Arena on April 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage)
GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 19: Ashley Banjo of Diversity, Tinie Tempah winner of Best Hip Hop/Grime MOBO Award and Kimberley Wyatt at the 18th anniversary MOBO Awards with Diversity's Ashley and Kimberley Wyatt at The Hydro on October 19, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Martin Grimes/Getty Images for MOBO)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: Ashley Banjo and 'Diversity' perform during the first live show of 2014's "Got To Dance" at Earls Court on August 25, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: Adam Garcia, Kimberley Wyatt and Ashley Banjo judge the first live show of 2014's "Got To Dance" at Earls Court on August 25, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Ashley Banjo and Diversity with the Marine Band perform onstage during the Invictus Games Closing Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on September 14, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Ashley Banjo and Diversity perform onstage during the Invictus Games Closing Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on September 14, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Ashley Banjo, Perri Kiely and Diversity perform onstage during the Invictus Games Closing Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on September 14, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Redferns via Getty Images)
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Diversity's routine saw a white police officer kneel on star Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd, while other dancers performed with police riot shields.

As Banjo lay on the floor while the police officer handcuffed him, other dancers crowded around with smartphones as if to film and take photos of the incident.

The routine also saw the dance troupe take a knee, in protest against racism and police brutality.

A spokeswoman for Ofcom said: "We are assessing these complaints against our broadcasting rules, before deciding whether or not to investigate."

An ITV spokesman said: "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."

In a video message on Instagram, Banjo previously said that while "the headlines have been about the complaints and the negativity... the negativity is the minority.

"The positive response has been huge. So thank you so much to everyone who has supported, shown love, and stood by what we did."

And he added: "We're feeling positive, proud, happy, confident.

"We stand by every single decision we made with that performance... I'm proud."

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