News: David Lammy snubbed offer to make film in Africa, says Comic Relief
Comic Relief offered to collaborate with Labour MP David Lammy on a charity film in Africa but the politician snubbed it, according to the charity.
The organisation told Lammy the “offer is still open” after he criticised Stacey Dooley on Wednesday over her work on a film ahead of Red Nose Day.
Lammy accused the Strictly Come Dancing star of perpetuating “tired and unhelpful stereotypes” after she travelled to Africa for an upcoming documentary.
Dooley shared pictures on her social media from Uganda, with one snap showing her posing with a young child.
Responding on Thursday, a spokesperson for Comic Relief made no apologies, thanking Dooley for helping people “working with or supported by Comic Relief projects tell their own stories in their own words”.
It said: “We are really grateful that Stacey Dooley, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed documentary maker, agreed to go to Uganda to discover more about projects the British people have funded there and make no apologies for this.
“She has filmed and reported on challenging issues all over the world, helping to put a much-needed spotlight on issues that affect people’s lives daily.
“In her film, people working with or supported by Comic Relief projects tell their own stories in their own words.
“We have previously asked David Lammy if he would like to work with us to make a film in Africa and he has not responded. The offer is still open.”
Mr Lammy, who has been the MP for Tottenham since 2010, said on Twitter that the 31-year-old investigative reporter was reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes about Africa.
He said: “The world does not need any more white saviours. As I’ve said before, this just perpetuates tired and unhelpful stereotypes.
“Let’s instead promote voices from across the continent of Africa and have serious debate.”
Mr Lammy said his issue was not “personal” with Dooley and he does not question her “good motives”.
Instead, he said he had a problem with “British celebrities” being flown out to Africa by Comic Relief to make films that send “a distorted image” of the continent and perpetuate “an old idea from the colonial era”.
Dooley replied and invited Mr Lammy to travel to Africa himself.
She said: “David, is the issue with me being white? (Genuine question) … because if that’s the case, you could always go over there and try raise awareness? Comic relief have raised over 1 billion pounds since they started. I saw projects that were saving lives with the money. Kids lives.”
Mr Lammy, who is of Guyanese descent, replied saying “many” black Britons are “deeply uncomfortable” with Comic Relief’s “poverty porn”.
This is not the first time Comic Relief has been accused of perpetuating the white saviour trope.
In March last year, the charity said celebrities would take a backseat on on-location appeals following complaints about “poverty tourism”.
Ed Sheeran was previously criticised for reinforcing white saviour stereotypes during a visit to Liberia.
By Keiran Southern and Alex Green