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Sainsbury’s Christmas advert praised for ‘triggering racists’ by Diversity’s Ashley Banjo

‘Welcome to the “trigger the racists” club,’ wrote the dancer

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 18 November 2020 13:57 GMT
Sainsbury's Christmas ad featuring Black family

Ashley Banjo has expressed solidarity with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s after a Christmas advertisement prompted complaints by racist online trolls.

The Diversity dancer and presenter was himself the target of bigotry and trolling earlier this year after his group performed a Black Lives Matter-inspired routine on Britain’s Got Talent. The Sainsbury’s advert, entitled “Gravy Song”, depicts a Black family celebrating Christmas.

On Twitter, Banjo wrote: “Dear Sainsbury’s, your application has been accepted… Welcome to the ‘trigger the racists’ club.’”  

The company has stood by its advert, saying in a statement that it wished to be an “inclusive” retailer “where colleagues love to work and customers love to shop”.

In September, Diversity’s politically charged dance routine prompted more than 24,000 complaints to broadcast watchdog Ofcom, which were subsequently dismissed. 

“We carefully considered a large number of complaints about this artistic routine, an area where freedom of expression is particularly important,” Ofcom said in a statement.

“Diversity’s performance referred to challenging and potentially controversial subjects, and in our view, its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity. Any depictions of violence by the performers were highly stylised and symbolic of recent global events, and there was no explicit reference to any particular political organisation – but rather a message that the lives of black people matter.”

Diversity take the knee during Black Lives Matter themed Britain's Got Talent performance

ITV, meanwhile, also stood by the performance, stating that the channel was “proud” to give the routine a platform.

“Ashley and the group are a great example of the talent, creativity and diversity of modern Britain,” said the broadcaster, “and their performance was an authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020.”

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