ITV has been hit with 4,165 Ofcom complaints after Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh prompted fury by calling the Buckingham Palace balcony ‘terribly white’ – making it the most complained about moment of the year.
Despite the overwhelming number of complaints, the broadcaster has maintained a wall of silence and refused to comment on the record figures released today.
Ms Andoh, who appeared as a guest during ITV’s coverage of King Charles III’s Coronation, made the comment when the royals were standing on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch the traditional Red Arrows flypast.
The 60-year-old, who plays Lady Agatha Danbury in the Netflix show, said: ‘Looking at all those young people, there is a bit of me that has gone from the rich diversity of the Abbey to the terribly white balcony. 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?”
But her comments were met with a fierce backlash among disappointed viewers who pledged to report it to the watchdog.
The actress backtracked the following day, insisting in a BBC interview that she’d meant no offence – but that too sparked another furious response from listeners who criticised the presenter for failing to challenge her views. Instead, Radio 4 host Paddy O’Connell told Ms Andoh she had ‘nothing to apologise for’.
Ofcom has now received a staggering 4,165 complaints, making it the most complained about moment this year. It has attracted almost double the amount of complaints made after a segment on the Jeremy Vine Show about junior doctors.
News of the record number of Ofcom complaints prompted comments from some of Britain’s top journalists.
Former editor of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie tweeted: ‘I see there have been 4,165 complaints to Ofcom about Adjoa Andoh calling the Palace balcony ”terribly white” but surely there should be as many complaints about the hopeless ITV news presenter Tom Bradby for not taking her to task. Not a journo, just an overpaid autocue reader.’
Numerous people took to Twitter to voice their outrage. with one commenter slamming her comments as ‘ridiculous’ and asking: ‘How can she get away with that? Any white person would have to make a public apology.’
In comparison, Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show was hit with 2,250 complaints after a discussion about junior doctors’ pay dispute.
Ms Andoh’s comments prompted a major backlash on social media, with one Twitter user asking: ‘Why is it OK to dismiss a white family for being white?’
A second said: ‘I’m disappointed in Adjoa Andoh. The #Coronation focused on promoting positive race relations & representing modern Britain.
‘There were many people from diverse backgrounds who had prominent positions yesterday, and yet Adjoa chose to discriminate with her divisive comment.’
And a third added: ‘Why make such an appalling #whitebalcony comment?! Appalling.’
Andoh later appeared on BBC Radio 4 to clarify what she meant and apologise.
She said: ‘I think I upset a few people yesterday.
‘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.’