10,000 signatures reached
To: Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom.
In support of Diversity's BGT performance
Reject complaints regarding the recent performance by the dance troupe Diversity
Why is this important?
We, the undersigned would like to offer a differing opinion to the 8,000 complaints we understand that you’ve had regarding the airing of the performance by the dance troupe Diversity on the show Britain’s Got Talent.
We live in exceptionally trying times, for sure, but the issue that is coming to the fore, possibly fuelled by Covid 19, but certainly for many people, fuelled by Brexit, is the understanding that we do live in a society that is inherently racist.
Incidents in America have certainly helped bring this into sharper focus, but government actions over Windrush and even this week, over Grenfell should bring into sharp relief that people of colour in this country still face issues of institutional racism. These ideas are fuelled by the way our press reports issues around migration and it’s that reporting that should bear more investigation, as without a doubt, it fuels hatred. The way the press have reported and tried to portray the Black Lives Matter protests as some sort of anarchist organisation prone to violence, whilst largely playing down the “statue defenders” who are actively far right organisations who are gaining traction in this country because of the manner in which populist right wing politics is reported. Black Live Matter is a moral statement, it’s not an extremist ideology.
The performance by Diversity was written to reflect the times we live in, nationally and internationally, references to the current Covid 19 situation and the heroics of the key workers, particularly the NHS, appear to have been welcomed, but the point about police violence appears to have made many viewers feel uncomfortable, yet we know that again and again the police, as an institution in this country, have been accused of being institutionally racist, have used racial profiling and after the death of Stephen Lawrence, a full scale report by Sir William McPhearson, over 20 years ago, regarding the nature of institutional racism in the Met Police force; we are not, of course, saying that all police officers are racist, but they do unfortunately stand to be judged, by the manner of their own profiling, by the manner with which some racist cops behave. We’ve also seen the Kick It Out campaign to highlight this blight on the national game. Most work places now work hard to promote equality and diversity, with some going so far as to sack people known to have shown actively racist behaviours, so whether some people like it or not, we think we can confidently say that structural racism is at least recognised within society.
The mediums of dance and storytelling have a strong tradition in British Culture and our Arts and entertainment sector has often promoted or provoked necessary questions, both nationally and internationally. Now is not the time to be squeamish.
With this in mind, we feel that no action should be taken against the production Britain’s Got Talent, for providing a platform for this point to be made. Considering the reaction, the point clearly still needs to be made.