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Ofcom will not pursue complaints about Adjoa Andoh’s “white” comment during King Charles III’s coronation

Ofcom, the media watchdog, has announced it will not be pursuing complaints made about comments by Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh during ITV’s coverage of the coronation of King Charles III.

Last month, Adjoa Andoh joined ITV as part of their coverage of the coronation where she commented that she had been “very struck” by the disparity between the “rich diversity of the Abbey” and what she described as a “terribly white” scene after the royals waved to the public from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

The comment generated wide attention and was reported by many stations including GB News and TalkTV. According to Ofcom, it became the most complained-about moment of 2023, with the watchdog receiving a total of 8,371 complaints.

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The media watchdog announced its decision on Monday morning, confirming it would not be taking the matter any further. In a statement, a spokesperson said: “We carefully considered complaints from viewers who objected to a comment made by Adjoa Andoh during ITV’s live coverage of the coronation of King Charles III.”

“However, given this personal observation was made in the context of a wide-ranging panel discussion – and taking into account the right to freedom of expression – we will not be pursuing this further.”

Adjoa Andoh previously addressed the backlash her comment had received during an interview on Radio 4 the morning after King Charles’ coronation. She explained: “I think I may have 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. I didn’t mean to upset anybody.”

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She later reiterated to The Guardian that it had not been her “intention to upset anyone” and that she would “continue to celebrate the king” during what she referred to as “an exciting moment in our history.”

The 20-year-old female news writer believes this decision by Ofcom shows that freedom of expression is still valued in the UK and that making personal observations can be accepted even if they are not shared by everyone.

It is positive to see that Adjoa Andoh is still able to continue with her work despite the controversy that her comments generated. Adjoa Andoh is best known for her role as Lady Danbury in Bridgerton, a role she reprised in the recent Netflix prequel, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

Many people have praised her for highlighting the lack of diversity during the coronation coverage, as monarchy events are typically seen as traditional and formal. Adjoa Andoh’s comments sparked a much-needed conversation about the lack of diversity in the UK’s media and entertainment industry.

The decision by Ofcom to not pursue the matter any further shows that even though there were many complaints, they were still willing to consider the wider context of her comments. It is a positive development for free speech and the media watchdog.

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It is hoped that this decision will provide an opportunity for those who had complained to reflect on the wider issues that Adjoa Andoh highlighted, rather than focusing on just one comment.

The diversity issue in the entertainment industry is a matter that needs to be addressed. The move towards more representation and inclusivity in all aspects of the industry has commendably increased, but there is still much work that needs to be done in this regard.

Adjoa Andoh’s comments should be viewed within this context and a wider conversation about diversity in the industry should take place. The 20-year-old female news writer hopes that this decision will enable a constructive debate on this issue to be fostered, with the aim of achieving greater representation and inclusivity in the industry.

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