Janey Godley dropped from Scottish Covid ads after ‘unacceptable’ tweets

Comedian described as Nicola Sturgeon’s alter ego made series of posts using ‘offensive, hurtful language’

The Scottish government have dropped Janey Godley, the comic described by Nicola Sturgeon as her “alter ego”, from their latest public health campaign after a series of “unacceptable” tweets by the Glaswegian comedian emerged.

Godley is well known for her comedy voiceovers of high-profile figures, including spoofs of the first minister’s Covid briefings during the pandemic. She is also a standup and has appeared on Have I Got News for You.

But the Scottish government responded decisively after the Daily Beast published dozens of historical tweets, which it describes as “shockingly racist”, on Thursday morning. Godley also used what she has since acknowledged herself as “offensive, hurtful language” about disabled people and Chernobyl victims.

The posts reference black American celebrities, including Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child, 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg. In a series of tweets written while Rowland was judging the UK X Factor in 2011, Godley describes the singer as “the black horse from USA” and in another states “Kelly does speak like the stereotyped black Aunt Jemima who stands on a stool in the Tom & Jerry cartoons screaming ‘TOM TOM’.”

Other posts refer to rapper 50 Cent as “a big black man talking about his dick” and suggest that Snoop Dog is “a black rapper of course he has weed that’s his job isn’t it?”

By late afternoon, the latest public health campaign, Let’s Stop the Spike – which features Godley encouraging Scots to adhere to continuing Covid mitigations – was discontinued with immediate effect.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “A series of unacceptable tweets by Janey Godley have been brought to our attention and, while she has rightly apologised, trust in our public health messages at this time is paramount. We have therefore taken the decision to withdraw any further campaign material in which Ms Godley features. The material will be discontinued immediately on our own channels and withdrawn as soon as possible from external media.”

Godley pinned a video apology to her Twitter account just prior to the Scottish government announcement, in which she stated: “I have used phrases, words, comments with horrifically despicable undertones and you can’t just pass that off as comedy. I accept any criticism that comes my way.”

She went on: “If I don’t own the shame of these phrases and words, I would be disingenuous to everybody who has ever supported me. I’m sorry, I will be better and I can’t apologise enough.”

Godley first came to international notice in 2016 when, the day after the UK voted to leave the EU as Donald Trump visited his Turnberry golf course, she was photographed surrounded by police holding a handwritten protest sign that read, “Trump is a cunt”.

Contributor

Libby Brooks

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Former SNP MP calls for apology from Sturgeon after fraud case dropped
Michelle Thomson, asked to resign the whip in 2015 pending the investigation, also criticised party’s governance structure

Rowena Mason Deputy political editor

06, Aug, 2017 @2:10 PM

Article image
Scottish pubs lash out at 'catastrophic' Covid crackdown
Bar and restaurant owners say they are ‘getting picked on’ and measures will hit young staff

Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent

08, Oct, 2020 @11:40 AM

Article image
Scotland delays Covid vaccine passports after backlash from nightclubs
Businesses will get extra time to tackle practical challenges before legal action can be enforced

Severin Carrell Scotland editor

28, Sep, 2021 @4:30 PM

Article image
Sturgeon suggests delay in Scottish Covid lockdown easing
Scotland’s first minister said planned relaxation of restrictions on 28 June would ‘in all probability’ be paused

Libby Brooks

15, Jun, 2021 @3:36 PM

Article image
How the Covid crisis is changing minds on Scottish independence
Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the pandemic, as well as frustration at the political impasse, is driving more people into the yes camp

Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent

13, Sep, 2020 @2:00 PM

Article image
Covid solidarity will oil wheels of new Scottish independence referendum – Sturgeon
But Scottish first minister repeats promise to postpone poll until coronavirus crisis is over

Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent

12, Sep, 2021 @11:19 PM

Article image
Scottish independence: May set to refuse referendum until after Brexit
UK prime minister expected to argue that holding vote before final EU deal is agreed would be premature and misleading

Severin Carrell Scotland editor

15, Mar, 2017 @1:57 PM

Article image
Over 120,000 Scottish exam grades to be reinstated after row
John Swinney to face no-confidence vote after being forced to make U-turn on results

Severin Carrell Scotland editor

11, Aug, 2020 @3:47 PM

Article image
Scottish Covid inquiry plans spur calls for other parts of UK to follow suit
Nicola Sturgeon confirms judge-led, human rights-based inquiry to begin by end of year

Libby Brooks and Severin Carrell

24, Aug, 2021 @3:21 PM

Article image
Sturgeon demands Scottish independence referendum powers after SNP landslide
First minister tells Boris Johnson she has renewed mandate after winning 47 of Scotland’s 59 seats

Severin Carrell

13, Dec, 2019 @6:46 AM