A Comic Relief documentary on Uganda featuring Stacey Dooley has been criticised for perpetuating “tired and unhelpful stereotypes” about Africa.
The Strictly Come Dancing winner shared pictures on her social media with one showing her posing with a young child while another showed her during filming ahead of Red Nose Day.
While insisting his comments were not “personal”, Labour MP David Lammy said he had a problem with “British celebrities” being flown out to Africa by Comic Relief to make films which send “a distorted image” of the continent and perpetuate “an old idea from the colonial era”.
Writing on Twitter, he added: “The world does not need any more white saviours. As I’ve said before, this just perpetuates tired and unhelpful stereotypes.
“Comic Relief has a huge platform and privilege and it is the first and major way children learn about Africa. If they only show Africans as helpless victims to be pitied, children miss the broader picture of huge progress in Africa.
“Comic Relief should be helping to establish an image of African people as equals to be respected rather than helpless victims to be pitied. It would therefore be better for people who actually live there to speak about the continent they know.
“Many black Brits feel deeply uncomfortable with Comic Relief’s poverty porn. It’s my job to represent their views however uncomfortable.”
Comic Relief thanked Ms Dooley for making the film about projects it has funded and revealed it had offered a similar opportunity to the Tottenham MP.
In a statement released on Thursday, a spokesman said: “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.”
Ms Dooley has also responded to Mr Lammy’s comments.
She wrote on Twitter: “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 is not the first time Comic Relief has been accused of perpetuating the “white saviour” image.
In March last year, the charity said celebrities would take a backseat on on-location appeals following complaints about “poverty tourism”.
And a Red Nose Day film fronted by Ed Sheeran, about street children in Liberia, was named the “most offensive” campaign of 2017 by the Radi-Aid awards – the annual contest organised by the Norwegian Students and Academics International Assistance Fund.