Comic Relief co-founder Sir Lenny Henry defended the charity as he waded into the ‘white saviour’ row between Stacey Dooley and MP David Lammy.
The 60-year-old comedian, who has been involved in the charity since its inception in 1985, touched on the controversial topic while appearing at Comic Relief’s Spectacular fundraiser at Wembley Arena on Thursday night.
Making reference to MP David Lammy’s jibe at Stacey Dooley for posting ‘white saviour’ pictures with children in Uganda on Instagram, Sir Lenny quipped the politician might say “screw you white people” in a gag at the fundraiser.
It came after Sir Lenny said how proud he was to be involved with Comic Relief.
Sir Lenny’s joke comes after BBC journalist Stacey Dooley and the Labour MP were involved in a blazing online row about Ms Dooley’s involvement with the charity.
Mr Lammy accused the Strictly Come Dancing winner of perpetuating “tired and unhelpful stereotypes” after she travelled to Uganda for an upcoming film for the charity.
The MP said the issue was not “personal” with Ms Dooley and does not question her “good motives”. But he added: “The world does not need any more white saviours.”
Investigative reporter Ms Dooley hit back, saying in response to his tweet: “David, is the issue with me being white? (Genuine question).”
Mr Lammy’s tweets were met with a mixed response, as some were in agreement with the ‘white saviour’ image being overused.
Television presenter Trisha Goddard also criticised Ms Dooley, who accused her of using “Kardashian” words and sharing “disturbing images”.
Responding on Thursday, a spokesman 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”.
Mr Lammy’s criticism is not the first time the charity has come under fire for using the so-called ‘white saviour’ trope, as a film with singer Ed Sheeran was also criticised.
In March last year the charity said celebrities would take a backseat on on-location appeals following complaints about “poverty tourism”.
Sir Lenny’s comments appeared to be the only reference to the recent controversy, as the rest of the gig saw a handful of comedians perform.