A BAFTA producer defended Ariana DeBose's performance after it was criticised online

She's obviously extremely talented

Ariana DeBose on stage during the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023 at The Royal Festival Hall on February 19, 2023 in London, England.
(Image credit: Photo by Kate Green / BAFTA / Getty)

Whether or not you watched the BAFTA awards last Sunday, if you've spent any amount of time on social media since then, you'll have seen Ariana DeBose's name mentioned.

Here's a refresher in case you're not up to speed: Ariana, who is known for her role in 2021's West Side Story, performed at the beginning of the BAFTAs, singing and dancing to a medley of cult songs.

At one point during the performance, Ariana began to rap by mentioning many of the night's nominees by name.

"Angela Bassett did the thing, Viola Davis my ‘Woman King,’ Blanchett Cate you’re a genius, Jamie Lee you are all of us," Ariana sang, among other words.

Social media users were quick to poke fun at the celebs in the audience's reactions to this — many of them seeming a little confused.

However, people were so critical of Ariana's performance that she ended up deactivating her Twitter account to avoid the hate.

Still, the actress (who is of course extremely talented) showed she thought the whole thing was actually quite funny when she commented on a meme that used some of her lyrics, writing: "Honestly I love this"

Some social media users have pointed out that critics went too far, but Ariana's biggest defender has proven to be BAFTA producer Nick Bullen.

"I think it’s incredibly unfair, to be frank," Nick told Variety about the backlash against Ariana's performance.

"I absolutely loved it. Everybody I’ve spoken to who was in the room absolutely loved it.

"She’s a huge star, she was amazing.

"The songs she was singing are very familiar songs, the room was clapping, and people were sort of dancing to the music.

"That rap section in the middle, mentioning the women in the room, was because it’s been a great year for women in film, and we wanted to celebrate that.

"And here is a woman of colour who is at the absolute top of her game. And she’s opening the BAFTAs with a song that said so much on so many levels. All of those mentions, I felt, from the moment we were rehearsing it right through to the transmission last night, spoke to what we wanted to do."

Let's all be a bit nicer to other people, shall we?

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn is a celebrity and royal news writer for Marie Claire. As a London-based freelance journalist, she writes about wellness, relationships, pop culture, beauty and more for the likes of InStyle, Women's Health, Bustle, Stylist and Red. Aside from her quasi-personal investment in celebs' comings and goings, Iris is especially interested in debunking diet culture and destigmatising mental health struggles. Previously, she was the associate editor for Her Campus, where she oversaw the style and beauty news sections, as well as producing gift guides, personal essays and celebrity interviews. There, she worked remotely from Los Angeles, after returning from a three-month stint as an editorial intern for Cosmopolitan.com in New York. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she interned at goop and C California Style and served as Her Campus' national style and LGBTQ+ editor. Iris was born and raised in France by a French father and an English mother. Her Spotify Wrapped is riddled with country music and One Direction, and she can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.