Janey Godley steps down from panto role | Fallout from offensive old tweets continues

Janey Godley steps down from panto role

Fallout from offensive old tweets continues

Janey Godley will not now be performing in panto this Christmas as the fallout from her offensive old tweets continues.

The comic had been due to star in Beauty And The Beast at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen, but the venue has now announced that she will not be appearing.

Aberdeen Performing Arts, the publicly funded body which runs the venue, said the decision was mutual, adding: ‘We do not condone any form of discrimination, nor do we condone online bullying, trolling and abuse. We recognise that the only appropriate course of action in these circumstances was for her to step down.’

Tory MSP Douglas Lumsden had led a campaign for her to be dropped, saying her ‘history of offensive and derogatory language on social media’ means she is not ‘an appropriate star of a family pantomime’

The news comes hours after Godley was also dropped from the Scottish government’s public health campaign to stop the spread of Covid, donating the £10,000  she was paid to charity.

After she was given the job, her social media history came under intense scrutiny, with a number of tweets with racist tones came to light. Others used offensive terms for disabled people.

The comedian offered a fulsome apology for the language she used. In a video posted online, she said: ‘I thought being a stand-up comedian – an outspoken stand-up comic – meant I could use any phrases, any words, say anything, and they wouldn’t be taken out of context. But that’s wrong, absolutely wrong.

‘I have used phrases, words, comments with horrifically despicable undertones and you cannot just pass that off as comedy and I accept any criticism that comes my way.

‘If I don’t own the shame of these phrases and words then I would be disingenuous to anyone who’s ever supported me I’m sorry. I will be better. I can’t apologise enough. I’m really sorry.’

The row over Godley’s social media blew up after critics of her role in the Scottish government campaign unearthed posts from several years ago that used offensive language mocking disabled people, such as ‘spazzy’.

Subsequently the Daily Beast website unearthed a cache of racist tweets, mainly about black American celebrities.

When the story first blew up, Goldey apologised for the ‘disgusting and hurtful’ words.

‘There are tweets from my past social media that are horridly offensive,’ the comedian said in a statement. ‘I believe in progress not perfection and I am far from perfect. 

‘People have every right to go through my social media and see what values I hold and to find hurtful phrases and statements is shocking, I am deeply sorry to everyone I offended.

‘Comedy is no excuse to use disgusting and hurtful words that affect people and I know many of you expected better of me. I apologise for every single word that upset people, I should have blocked and reported the accounts that threatened me and not replied with abhorrent heckles.’

She later added on Twitter; ‘I absolutely deserve every bit of criticism for the language used in past tweets, there is no shying away from that. I am writing this as I haven’t slept well, it’s my own fault, people have the right to go through past TL [timeline] and scrutinise each tweet, I deserve this… if you put yourself up there and say horrific offensive stuff that hurts people, you deserve to be brick batted down - that’s life. I accept that, people have the right to punish me.’

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Godley had been ‘pretty straightforward and dignified in her apology. She is a comedian and as she said herself she thought that gave her licence to say things that she accepts were completely out of order and unacceptable.’

A spokesman from the Scottish Government confirmed that the Covid campaign Godley fronted was to be discontinued, saying that the storm over the ‘unacceptable tweets’ had overshadowed its public health message.

Stephen Kerr, the Scottish Conservative chief whip,  criticised the  SNP  for using ‘a significant amount of taxpayers’ money in getting a divisive figure to front their latest Covid advert’.

However some of Goldey’s supporters have cautioned against piling too much shame on to the comedian.

Rapper Darren McGarvey, who performs as Loki, tweeted: 'I think Janey Godley is being placed under unnecessary emotional pressure. People are now trying to get her sacked from other jobs. I genuinely think there's a vulnerability about her that many miss. Please accept her apologies now and stop trying to destroy her livelihood.

‘Scottish Government should NEVER have employed her. For so many reasons. One being risk of precisely whats occurring now. I have no idea why she took this job (it was never ending well as public money rightly means more scrutiny) but I fear the price she may yet pay is too much.

‘Something about this is just off for me. I worry situations can go south very quickly when people with a lot of trauma are forced to sit with shame and fear for too long. Please just stop now.’

Published: 10 Sep 2021

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