Ofcom’s verdict after more than 8,000 ‘terribly white’ complaints

Ofcom decision sparks heated debate

Ofcom: controversial decision. Credit: Ofcom/Twitter.com

During ITV’s televised coverage of King Charles’ coronation, a comment which described the royal balcony as ‘terribly white’ sparked controversy among viewers.

Following a staggering 8,371 complaints to Ofcom, the TV watchdog looked into the comments from Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh, on May 6, in which she raised the issue of colour and the royal family.

Andoh, 60, who also stars as Lady Danbury in Netflix’s ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story,’ was featured as a panel guest during the ITV programme, where she made the observation: ‘We have gone from the rich diversity of the Abbey to a terribly white balcony.’

She continued: ‘I’m very struck by that. I am also looking at those younger generations and thinking, what are the nuances that they will inhabit when they grow?’’

Later the actress appeared on BBC Radio 4, where she attempted to clarify her comments: ‘I was talking about the day and how marvellous it was and then looking at the balcony at the end and suddenly going: “Oh it’s so white!” because the day had been so mixed and I didn’t mean to upset anybody.’

Ofcom announced today, June 5: ‘We have concluded our assessment of complaints we received about a comment made during ITV’s coverage of the Coronation of King Charles III, and can confirm we will not be pursuing these further.

‘We received 8,371 complaints from viewers about a comment made by actress Adjoa Andoh during the live broadcast, which focused on the appearance of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

‘Complainants also objected to references to the comment made by ITV News presenters Tom Bradby and Chris Ship.

‘While we understand some viewers had strong feelings about this comment, after careful consideration we have concluded that the comment was a personal observation which was part of a wide-ranging panel discussion which also touched on other diversity-related topics, and which contained a range of viewpoints.’

Our decision to not pursue these complaints further also takes into account broadcasters’ and guests’ right to freedom of expression.

In response to Ofcom’s decision to drop the matter, many posted their thoughts on social media, here are a few from Talk TV Facebook, with one woman writing: ‘Such a racist comment! not to be told off is ridiculous…if it was the opposite surely the person should also be chastised…we don’t need divisions…respect all.’

Another said: ‘If that is their decision, then surely we ALL have the right to “freedom of expression”. Is this hypocrisy at its best?’

One person raised an interesting question in her comment: ‘Racist Comment is not acceptable…and if the comment had been about the opposite colour, then the white person responsible would have been in serious trouble, no doubt… level playing field?’

And finally, one man wrote despondently: ‘Welcome to the ‘United’ Kingdom, and a glimpse into what its future looks like.’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.