Ashley Banjo 'worried' about his safety in aftermath of Diversity's BGT performance

Danny Thompson
·Contributor
·2 mins read
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25:  Ashley Banjo attends the National Television Awards on January 25, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Ashley Banjo attends the National Television Awards on January 25, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Diversity star Ashley Banjo has admitted he was “worried” about the safety of him and his family in the aftermath of the Britain’s Got Talent dance routine which amassed over 25,000 Ofcom complaints.

Banjo and his dance troupe performed a powerful routine on the ITV talent show last month which intended to sum up the tumultuous issues the world has faced in 2020.

One section of the routine depicted Banjo’s neck being knelt on by a police officer, in reference to the death of George Floyd which sparked mass Black Lives Matter protests across the globe earlier this year.

The dance led to TV regulator Ofcom receiving thousands of complaints from viewers, and members of Diversity told of the backlash also including racial abuse and threats.

Watch: Diversity’s BLM-inspired routine

Banjo has now admitted the negative response made him concerned for the safety of his family.

Read more: Diversity have 'never been prouder' following ITV's backing, says Ashley Banjo

Speaking of the concerns to GQ Magazine, Banjo said: “I rang home and said to my wife, ‘Put the alarm on, make sure you’re OK.’ Or she would ring me and be like, ‘Ash, if you’re going out for a run, you know, just make sure that you’re OK.’

BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19: (L-R) Jordan Banjo, Perri Kiely and Ashley Banjo of Diversity attend the Nickelodoen Slimefest at Blackpool Pleasure Beach on October 19, 2019 in Blackpool, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Nickelodeon Slimefest)
Jordan Banjo, Perri Kiely and Ashley Banjo of Diversity attend the Nickelodoen Slimefest at Blackpool Pleasure Beach on October 19, 2019. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Nickelodeon Slimefest)

“Even though we never said it out loud to each other, it affected our way of thinking and our behaviour to an extent. It affected the way that we acted.

He added: “There were points when I was genuinely worried, you know, points when I would think to myself, ‘Will it be safe to go here or go there?’

Read more: Alesha Dixon shares emotional response to Diversity’s BLM-inspired routine

“Even now, you know, sometimes I'll look and go, ‘that could be a group of people that really disagrees with me’; you don't know how they’re going to [react] when you put your neck out on the line for what you believe in. It’s caused a pretty visceral reaction from people.”

Ofcom eventually dismissed the complaints and Banjo and Diversity received the full backing of ITV.

Watch: Piers Morgan rips into BGT viewers who complained about Diversity's BLM performance