Stacey Dooley hits back during 'race row' after charity trip to Uganda receives backlash

28 February 2019, 12:21 | Updated: 15 April 2019, 09:54

Stacey Dooley
Stacey Dooley received criticism for her recent trip to Uganda. Picture: Instagram/Stacey Dooley

The Strictly Come Dancing winner became embroiled in a furious war of words with Labour MP David Lammy after he slammed Comic Relief's portrayal of Africa.

By Rume Ugen

Stacey Dooley has received support from Comic Relief after she was forced to defend her recent trip to Uganda, following criticisms for perpetuating 'poverty porn'.

The BBC Three documentary maker was slammed by Labour MP David Lammy, who condemned Comic Relief's use of celebrities and accused the organisation of perpetuating 'white saviour' stereotypes - a mentality that suggests white people are the solution to poverty in deprived parts of the world.

In a new statement representatives for Comic Relief wrote: "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 British people have generously 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 story 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."

Stacey is currently in Africa filming a documentary for the charity and uploaded pictures of herself in Uganda hugging local children.

David Lammy later took to Twitter writing: "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.

Upon seeing the tweets, Stacey furiously hit back: "If the issue is that I'm white... you could always go". 

Defending herself further she added: "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."

Read more: Stacey Dooley boyfriend Sam Tucknott relationship - are they engaged will they have a baby?

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During their Twitter spat, Lammy insisted his comments were not personal, but were an overall observation as he bemoaned the string of celebrities who flock to parts of Africa to film documentaries for the charity.

He added: "This isn't personal and I don't question your good motives. My problem with British celebrities being flown out by Comic Relief to make these films is that it sends a distorted image of Africa which perpetuates an old idea from the colonial era."

The heated exchange of words follow a much larger debate about Comic Relief's use of celebrity, and the on-going narrative that sees Africa depicted as a poor poverty-stricken continent.

In 2018, representatives for the organisation said they had taken their 'first steps' towards changing, and would be favouring locals over celebrity storytellers such as Ed Sheeran and Eddie Redmayne in future appeals. 

Ed Sheeran also drew criticism from Aid watchdog SAIH who slammed a video of pop star meeting a street boy in Liberia and offering to pay for his housing.