MP David Lammy has been slammed by critics who blame his ‘white saviour’ tweets for Comic Relief’s £8million fall in donations since last year.
A Twitter spat between Mr Lammy, 46, and documentary maker Stacey Dooley, 32, has been blamed for fewer donations after just £63million was raised.
That is compared to £71.3million in 2018.
Mr Lammy slammed Comic Relief for sending white people to show African poverty saying it was part of a ‘white saviour’ complex left over from a ‘colonial era’.
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Comic Relief co-founder Lenny Henry helped present Friday night’s Red Nose Day appeal. The 60-year-old comedian helped set up the charity in 1985 in response the famine in Ethiopia. After the Twitter spat Mr Henry made a joke the MP might say ‘screw you, white people’ while at a Comic Relief fundraiser at Wembley Arena
A Twitter spat between MP David Lammy and documentary maker Stacey Dooley, 32, has been blamed for fewer donations after just £63million was raised
Stacey Dooley received an outpouring of support by Comic Relief viewers as her controversial charity trip to Africa was aired
The documentary-maker, 32, visited clinics in Uganda for pregnant women and malaria sufferers
This year’s total is on track to be the lowest raised since 2007 – when just £40.2million was tallied by the end of the night.
But £63million is still far below the record-breaking £108million raised in 2011.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, joined criticism of MP David Lammy as his Twitter spat with Miss Dooley was blamed for putting people off donating.
Mr Lammy had tweeted in response to a photo cradling a black child Miss Dooley had posted while she was filming in Uganda for Comic Relief
He said: ‘I notice David Lammy wisely keeping quiet while the UK celebrated Comic Relief #rednoseday raising millions.’
Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live Romesh Ranga, a comedian who co-hosted the broadcast, said: ‘David Lammy had his points to make and I agree with some of what he said but the thing is that Comic Relief has done a lot of amazing stuff.
‘What is not up for debate is that Comic Relief is doing a lot of really positive stuff. It’s raised over £1billion for amazing causes since it started.
‘What we have to work on is looking at tackling these issues and the narrative and the white saviour phenomenon.
‘I am very proud to be a part of Comic Relief and it is something I feel very very passionate about.’
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, joined criticism of MP David Lammy as his Twitter spat with Miss Dooley was blamed for putting people off donating
And Chris Phelps, MP for Croydon South and vice chairman for policy for the Conservative Party slammed Mr Lammy’s ‘pathetic manufactured indignation’.
He said: ‘The cost of his absurd egotistical posturing is real. This is money that could have been used to save lives. He should fulsomely apologise to stop a repeat next year.’
Others claimed they avoided donating this year because they did not want to be labelled a ‘white saviour’.
Mr Lammy had tweeted in response to a photo of Miss Dooley cradling a black child – posted while she was filming in Uganda for Comic Relief.
He said: ‘The world does not need anymore 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.’
His tweet led to a Twitter spat as Miss Dooley replied: ‘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.’
The documentary maker faced criticism when she posted a photo of a black child to Instagram with the caption ‘Obsessssed’.
Mr Lammy told her his criticism was not personal but it was important not to produce ‘a distorted image of Africa which perpetuated an old idea from the colonial era’.
After this year’s comic relief saw an £8million drop in donations since 2018 people took to Twitter to criticise the MP.
One Tweet said: ‘Hardly surprising people give unconditionally to charity, but if their help isn’t appreciated, they will give money to causes where they won’t be criticised.’
Social media users rallied behind the Strictly Come Dancing winner tonight on Twitter
Another read: ‘I didn’t contribute this time. I’d hate to be thought of as a ‘white saviour. Marie Curie got my donation.’
Another tweeter criticised the MP after Love Island winner Dani Dyer’s film on Female Genital Mutilation was edited to avoid further ‘white saviour’ accusations.
The tweet read: ‘Because of your “white saviour” comment, powerful women were stopped from using their profile to help women in dire circumstanced. A segment on female genital mutilation was edited down for Comic Relief because Dani Dyer is a white celeb. Happy?’
The 22-year-old’s film was cut short on Friday night’s broadcast to prevent fresh attacks as she visited a project in Sierra Leone where young girls were taught to say no to genital mutilation.
She said: ‘This is girl power. I love that. I need a little bit of this group at home’.
Nimco Ali, 36, a campaigner who helped outlaw the practice in Britain, warned Emma Freud, 57, director of Red Nose Day, the film might backfire.
Stacey Dooley received an outcry of support after her short film aired during the Red Nose Day broadcast.
Comic Relief have been approached for comment.