BBC receives 500 complaints over NYE fireworks paying tribute to Black Lives Matter

Broadcaster also received 289 complaints over Christmas episode of The Vicar of Dibley, in which Dawn French’s character took the knee

Bethany Dawson
Friday 08 January 2021 11:13
David Attenborough narrates New Year's 2021 fireworks

The BBC received 500 complaints over a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement during the New Years Eve fireworks in London.

Details of the complaints were contained in the latest fortnightly complaints report published by the broadcaster’s internal regulator, which logged 2,797 objections made against the BBC between 21 December and 3 January. 

It noted 500 complainants were “unhappy the New Year Firework display referenced ‘Black Lives Matter’”. 

The fireworks show, organised by City Hall and broadcast live on BBC One, featured a number of drones creating images of key themes and people of 2020. One of of the images depicted clenched fists synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said “our New Years Eve show just sent a loud, proud message to the world: London stands together against racism - tonight and always. #BlackLivesMatter”.

Other images featured in the show included Sir Captain Tom Moore, the NHS logo, and the words “you’re on mute” as a nod to the emergence of video conference as a key mode of communication during the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the festive period, the BBC also received 289 complaints over the Christmas episode of The Vicar of Dibley, in which Dawn French’s titular character took the knee and spoke of her preoccupation with the "horror show" of George Floyd’s death in America. 

The broadcaster also received 1,712  complaints against an episode of The Andrew Marr Show in which the presenter interviewed Boris Johnson about the decision to keep schools about despite surging Covid infection rates. The complaints all claimed that the BBC and Mr Marr showed “bias against" the prime minister.

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