Ashley Banjo has revealed he received up to 100 abusive tweets every minute following his Black Lives Matter dance routine on Britain’s Got Talent.
The dancer, 32, depicted the death of George Floyd alongside his dance troupe Diversity on the ITV show in September and admitted he was warned against the performance.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, he said: ‘Dad was worried we were about to put our futures on the line. “You’re doing well, why rock the boat?” But I had to.
Hurtful: Ashley Banjo has revealed he received up to 100 abusive tweets every minute following his Black Lives Matter dance routine on Britain’s Got Talent
‘We had millions of eyes on us. I wanted to portray what was going on in the world. Afterwards, I got around one hundred abusive tweets.’
However, Ashley admitted he was not prepared for the level of backlash he received following the performance.
He said: ‘Afterwards I got around 100 abusive tweets a minute. We learnt that it’s OK to tell stories about climate change or the NHS, but not racism.’
Ashley’s brother Jordan, who is also in Diversity, told how his children received death threats after the show.
Performance: The dancer, 32, depicted the death of George Floyd alongside his dance troupe Diversity on the ITV show in September and admitted he was warned against the performance
The dancer, 28, said that he even had cement thrown over his car after the performance attracted more than 25,000 complaints to Ofcom.
Speaking on The British Entrepreneur podcast, Jordan said: ‘When I’m sat at home and you’re telling me really horrible stuff like “your kids are so ugly, they should die”, “I hope your kids get caught in a house fire”.
‘It’s crazy stuff, mad — especially since last year when we did that performance on BGT. From then, it was like a red rag to a bull.’
He added of the backlash: ‘There were some people who had a genuine grievance with it and then some people, when this whole storm was kicking off, tried to antagonise you. I’m talking thousands upon thousands of messages.
‘Even my car’s had cement thrown all over it, my Aston. It was crazy.’
Shocking: Ashley’s brother Jordan told how his children received death threats after Diversity’s Black Lives Matter – inspired routine (pictured in 2020)
Jordan shares children Cassius, three, and Mimi, 20 months, with fiancée Naomi Courts.
Discussing how people have even targeted his home, he added: ‘I don’t live in a huge, gigantic house. I just live down a normal road.
‘There were times when I’ve been in my office — my garage is converted — and I came out and people are trying to climb out over my garden gate. It’s really weird how people react to stuff.’
During their routine, the group illustrated the death of George Floyd, who lost his life after police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25.
Britain’s Got Talent became the most complained about show of the decade following the routine.
Jordan said: ‘When I’m sat at home and you’re telling me really horrible stuff like ‘your kids are so ugly, they should die’… it’s crazy stuff, mad’ (pictured with Cassius, three, Mimi, 20 months, and fiancée Naomi Courts last year)
At the time, Ofcom announced they would not investigate the complaints any further, while ITV ‘stood with Diversity’ after they featured adverts in national newspapers in support of the dance.
In January, Ashley revealed the routine on Britain’s Got Talent caused ‘division’ in his family.
Speaking to the Daily Star, Ashley admitted that the performance was not universally praised in his family and some didn’t like it.
He said: ‘Even among my own family and friends the performance sparked conversation.
‘There has been some negativity with my family. There was division.
Defiant: Britain’s Got Talent became the most complained about show of the decade following the routine (the group pictured in September)
‘People didn’t directly disagree with the performance but there was a conversation about if it was really necessary. I saw it happen in my own household.’
Ashley also said there are still some people in his life who ‘haven’t spoken [to him] at all’ since the performance aired.
The TV star admitted he still receives online abuse from trolls to this day over the episode, despite Ofcom not taking any action over the complaints.
Ashley has also since admitted he has been encouraged to ramp up his BLM campaign following the ‘hate’ he received over his Diversity routine.
He would perform the same routine 100 times over, despite the fact it received so many complaints.
Ashley added that although the routine sparked backlash, it also started a dialogue which lasted weeks as he dubbed it the one of the ‘most impactful conversation starters the country has ever seen’.
Routine: At the time, Ofcom announced they would not investigate the complaints any further, while ITV ‘stood with Diversity’ after they featured adverts in national newspapers in support of the dance