Britain's Got Talent Judge Ashley Banjo has spoken out, addressing the controversy surrounding Diversity's BLM-inspired dance on the show.
In a response to the ground-breaking choreography, the BGT judge revealed he has received "racist abuse" and "threats" in the days since the dance sequence aired.
The dance was a response to the death of George Floyd, showing Ashley on the ground as a dancer acting as an officer rested his knee on his neck.
Despite paying a powerful tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, certain viewers took offence to the routine, with Ofcom receiving over 15,000 complaints over the performance.
While his co-stars and fellow Diversity stars have responded to the controversy, Ashley had remained silent on the subject – until this evening.
Speaking into the camera, the professional dancer opened up about the trolling he had received, adding the backlash made it clear "racism is real".
He said: "What’s up everyone, I just wanted to do a quick video just to address some issues, it has been a crazy week and I have been a bit quiet on social been living life, but now I feel is the time to come out and say a few things.
"Firstly, I want to say thank you, for all the people who have supported what me and Diversity did with our performance. Honestly, it is overwhelming.
"Hundreds of thousands of messages, comments DMs and interactions in the street."
The Dancing On Ice judge continued: "I know a lot of the press reports have been about the complaints and the negativity, which there has been a lot – there’s has been what, 15, 16,000 complaints.
"A lot of negativity thrown at the performance, but trust me, I am right in the centre of it and 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.
"We are feeling positive, proud, happy, confident and we stand by every single decision we made with that performance."
Ashley then stood by the performance, making it clear he was proud to have made such an impactful statement to the wide audience of BGT viewers.
He said: "If I am honest with you, to be able to stand on that very stage that launched Diversity into the limelight, as a judge on the panel standing up for something we believe in, using our art to spark s nationwide conversation – what more could I ask for as a creative, as an artist?"
Referring to the hateful messages he has personally received, he said: "Racial abuse to threats, to just some really nasty stuff".
He went on: "I am not going to give it any more time than it deserves, all of the nastiness and the racism shows exactly why this performance was needed and exactly why this conversation has now arisen from it.
"Racism is very real, especially after this performance."
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