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BGT: Ashley Banjo was ‘scared to go anywhere’ after backlash

Says he didn't know what kind of attention he would attract

BGT star Ashley Banjo was ‘scared to go anywhere’ after he received abuse amid the Black Lives Matter controversy.

Ashley, 32, and Diversity performed a powerful routine on the show inspired by the BLM movement.

But it didn’t go down well with a section of viewers, who subsequently complained to Ofcom.

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The Diversity performance also showed dancers taking the knee on BGT (Credit: ITV)

Why was BGT star Ashley Banjo scared to go out?

Speaking to GQ magazine, Ashley said the routine had “caused a visceral reaction” with people.

During the dance, he and fellow troupe members re-enacted George Floyd’s murder in the US.

Read more: BGT: Alesha Dixon wears BLM necklace after Diversity furore

This led to Ofcom receiving over 20,000 complaints as those people thought it wasn’t appropriate for a family show.

Not only that, but Ashley himself received online abuse, including vile threats.

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Ofcom received over 20,000 complaints over the routine (Credit: ITV)

What did Ashley Banjo say in the interview?

Things got so bad that Ashley began to fear unwanted attention outside his front door.

He said it was “a lot to deal with”.

Will it be safe to go here or go there?

“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?'” he told the magazine.

“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.”

Ashley Banjo
Ashley also reached out to thank fans (Credit: SplashNews.com)

What kind of support did Ashley receive?

Despite the complaints, there was also much support.

Immediately after the performance, Ashley reached out to those who took the time to message him.

“So much to say… But I’ll just let the performance talk. Thousands of messages of love and support – thank you,” he said.

“For the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance – thank you. You highlight exactly what needs to change. Sending nothing but love to you all.”

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Nabil Abdulrashid’s routine sparked complaints (Credit: ITV)

What else has BGT been receiving complaints for?

Last Saturday’s BGT semi-final (Saturday October 3) also attracted around 1,000 complaints.

Both head judge Amanda Holden and contestant Nabil Abdulrashid were the main reasons.

Nabil’s comedy routine received some backlash over the jokes he used.

Read more: BGT: Ashley Banjo says bosses cried over Diversity performance

As part of his routine, Nabil said: “People watching will think that it’s another one of those Black Lives Matter guys doing jokes about stop and search.”

“No, it’s a joke about being fat,” he continued.

“Big Narstie and I are both fat, we just both happen to be black too. Don’t throw in the race card guys!”

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