Mr. Lammy, who is of Guyanese heritage, slammed Strictly Come Dancing star Stacey Dooley on Wednesday after she posted selfies with Ugandan children during filming for a documentary for Red Nose Day. The world did not need "any more white saviours", Mr. Lammy added, and accused her of "tired and unhelpful stereotypes".
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) February 27, 2019
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) February 28, 2019
Many on social media backed Mr. Lammy's comments and lambasted Ms. Dooley's charity work in Uganda, calling it a "product of white guilt caused by years of colonialism".
— Reggie n Bollie (@ReggieNBollie) February 28, 2019
— Emma Dabiri (@EmmaDabiri) February 28, 2019
Mr. Lammy said that Comic Relief should do more to incorporate celebrities and businesspeople form Africa in their shows, and that the "challenge for Comic relief" was to avoid the outdated formula of sending money to African countries.
"Can't they not film from Africa live? Can we not have African filmmakers, presenters and producers as well as perhaps some British celebrities to get across the issue," he asked. "That's the issue in 2019. This is a formula now that is 20 years old — it hasn't moved on. That's the challenge for Comic Relief."
Ms. Dooley hit back, stating: "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."
Others came to Ms. Dooley's defence, with one user slamming Mr. Lammy's comments as "appalling racial discrimination against Stacy who is doing a fabulous job for underprivileged people in Africa".
In a press release obtained by Sputnik, a Comic Relief spokesperson 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."
The spokesperson added: "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.”