White saviour row sees Comic Relief donations suffer

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Signifcant amount less was raised with white saviour row blamed 

18th March 2019 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Red Nose Day has plummeted by £8m on last year’s total amid controversy over “white saviours.”

The BBC announced it had raised £63m so far from the annual fundraiser compared with £71.3m last year - the lowest sum since 2007 and some way below the record £108m total achieved in 2011.

This year’s telethon also saw a dip in ratings, with an average of 5.6 million people tuning in - 600,000 fewer viewers than in 2017.  

It comes after a well-publicised spat involving Labour MP David Lammy who criticised celebrity supporter Stacey Dooley for promoting a “white saviour” complex.

Dooley, the winner of Strictly Come Dancing, caused controversy after she posted a picture of herself posing with a young African child while making a Comic Relief documentary in Uganda.

Lammy reacted by posting the comment: “The world does not need any more white saviours.”

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, tweeted: “I notice David Lammy wisely keeping quiet while the UK celebrates Comic Relief #rednoseday raising millions.” But many said they had not donated because they did not want to be accused of being a “white saviour.”

Comic Relief was shaken by the criticism leading to a dumbed-down Dani Dyer film about female genital mutilation, fearing she would be accused for being a white westerner interfering with another culture’s issues.

Dyer, 22, was filmed visiting a project in Sierra Leone and urged viewers to give £10 or £20, saying: “That is girl power. I love that. I need a little bit of this group at home.”

Nimco Ali, a campaigner who helped outlaw the practice in Britain, warned Emma Freud, director of Red Nose Day, that the film could backfire.

19th March 2019 by Ruchir

There are lessons here for imagery and how to handle comms that we can all learn from.Having said that, the reasons for the decline in Comic relief giving will be about a much broader trend than the ‘white saviour’ coverage.We saw giving to telethons spike during austerity, so this is likely to be a return to more normal levels. People are also now giving in different ways, not just through telethons.