Lenny Henry tells MPs to sort out media's 'fake diversity'

Written by James Millar on 19 July 2017 in Diary

David Lammy invited the ground-breaking comedian to the Commons to discuss representation in the media

Comedian Sir Lenny Henry has blasted TV companies for not employing enough black and minority ethnic (BAME) people behind the camera at an event in Westminster.

Sir Lenny, best known for founding Comic Relief, has become a campaigner for diversity in recent years. Tottenham MP David Lammy invited him to give a keynote speech in parliament yesterday.

Also speaking at the event were Conservative MP Helen Grant, Lib Dem peer Baroness Bonham-Carter and Channel 4 newsman Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

Sir Lenny used his address to call for more people from the BAME community to be employed making films and TV programmes. He accused the media of 'fake diversity,' claiming that if they put a black person on screen or have a single gay character in a drama then producers regard that as sufficient to satisfy diversity requirements. 

The comic, who found fame after winning the New Faces talent contest and starred on 70s kids show Tiswas doing impressions of naturalist David Bellamy, also took a swipe at US President Donald Trump. Showing photos of the winners of Bafta's awards for people who work behind the camera, who were all white, he quipped that it looked like "a White House staff meeting".

David Lammy responded by saying he was trying to arrange a meeting with Ofcom head Sharon White about the issue but her office kept cancelling.


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