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Comedian Janey Godley withdraws from Aberdeen pantomime ‘by mutual agreement’

Janey Godley was to star in the Aberdeen Performing Arts' pantomime at His Majesty's Theatre this year.
Janey Godley was to star in the Aberdeen Performing Arts' pantomime at His Majesty's Theatre this year.

Scottish comedian Janey Godley has withdrawn from performing in an Aberdeen pantomime as a row over historic offensive online posts rages on.

Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) has announced the star would not appear in the production of Beauty and the Beast at His Majesty’s Theatre.

It comes less than 24 hours after the Scottish Government axed the 60-year-old from a Covid safety advertising campaign – as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this morning told the BBC the remarks were “completely out of order and unacceptable”.

Her posts targeted Black American rappers Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, as well as singer Kelly Rowland.

US publication the Daily Beast – which uncovered tweets, some a decade old – described them as “obscenely racist”.

Publicly-funded arts body APA continued to back their star earlier this week, despite the unearthing of old tweets using highly offensive words known to be derogatory to those with disabilities – as well as poking fun at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Some of the north-east’s most vulnerable enjoy the panto every year.

But, with pressure mounting, this afternoon the arts body issued a joint statement, alongside show producers Crossroads Pantomimes.

Their spokeswoman said: “Janey Godley, by mutual agreement with Crossroads Pantomimes and Aberdeen Performing Arts, has withdrawn from Beauty and the Beast at HMT Aberdeen this Christmas.

“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.

“Earlier in the week Janey Godley apologised unreservedly for past comments she had made on social media.

“Further casting announcements for the pantomime will be made later in the year.”

Lumsden: Godley’s starring role risked Aberdeen’s ‘core values of tolerance’

It follows criticism from North East MSP Douglas Lumsden over the delay on a rethink – as he told APA chief executive Jane Spiers he feared bosses were “oblivious” to the “completely offensive” posts.

Douglas Lumsden

“I am confident that Aberdeen Performing Arts deplores racism in any form and I am positive that your organisation would not knowingly promote someone with racists views or who has made racist comments,” he said earlier.

The Conservative, who remains a city councillor, also claimed Aberdeen’s “core values of tolerance” would “very much be at risk” by the continued involvement of the comedian in the show.

Janey Godley’s apology over ‘offensive, hurtful language’

Ms Godley yesterday apologised for her historic social media posts, broadcasting that she was “so sorry to everyone she hurt”.

She added: “I thought being an outspoken comedian meant I could get away with saying anything I wanted and people would accept that and wouldn’t take it out of context, but that’s completely wrong.

“I have to stand up and own my offensive hurtful language and apologise.

“They have terrible, horrific undertones and I deserve all the criticism that comes my way.

“If I can’t own the shame of these words I would be disingenuous to everyone who supported me.”

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