Janey Godley tweets: what did Scottish comedian say, and why her offensive posts got her removed from advert

Scottish Government
The tweets, uncovered by the Scottish Sun, used derogatory terms which insulted people with disabilities, were racist and offensive

Scottish comedian Janey Godley has been dropped from a Scottish Government campaign after tweets resurfaced which were racist and used deeply offensive terms.

Godley had been paid £12,000 from the Scottish Government to take part in a television campaign to encourage face coverings and lateral flow testing, as well as receiving an undisclosed amount from Zero Waste Scotland who are also financed by the government.

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On Wednesday, tweets surfaced which referred to Cherobyl victims and used derogatory terms which are offensive to people with disabilities and some comments were racist.

So, what did Godley say in her historic tweets - and how has she responded to being dropped by the Scottish Government campaign? This is what you need to know.

What did Janey Godley say in her Tweets?

In tweets uncovered by The Daily Beast and The Scottish Sun from the time period of 2011 to 2017, Godley made several offensive comments.

Screenshots shared show her account using terms such as "sp**zy" and "m**go" and insulted a Twitter critic’s "weird overbite" by likening him to a victim of the Chernobyl disaster.

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Another tweet, aimed at former Xfactor judge Kelly Rowland, read: “F***sake That horsey face black wummin on Xfactor is flashing her t**s...is this not a kids show”

A second jibe said: “Kelly does speak like the stereotyped black Aunt Jemima who stands on a stool in the Tom & Jerry cartoons screaming ‘TOM TOM.”

A third tweet from Godley described Rowland as “the black horse from USA”.

She then said: “If Kelly talks like a ghetto blaster racist black chick am gonna punch her rice and peas.”

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In another Twitter spat, she made racist comments about US rapper 50 Cent.

“There’s nothing classier than a black rap man in a well cut suit with photo’s of guns in the background...mmm sexy,” one read.

Another said: “If it wasn’t the fact he is a big black man talking about his dick I wouldn’t have known he was a rapper?”

50 Cent even responded to Ms Godley after being bombarded, telling her: “take yo big ass to sleep if you don’t like what I’m saying.”

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Godley also likened the African slave trade to the Highland Clearances and when black Twitter users took offence, she tweeted “The amount of black people annoyed I wrote ‘we are descendants of highlands clearances’ to Kanye. offended are ye? get f***ed.”

Has she apologised for her words?

Godley has agreed with her critics and apologised for her offensive language.

On Wednesday, the day after some of the tweets emerged, Godley said “I am a firm believer in progress not perfection, I will continue to progress.

“People have every right to see who they are supporting and what values they hold and looking through their past social media is the way forward. I apologise for every single offensive word I wrote.

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“The offensive replies from me were to accounts that threatened me and I lashed out with abhorrent heckles. Their accounts were suspended, I should have blocked and reported them and not argued back.

“Comedy is no excuse for shocking and hurting people with words. I will endeavour to be better in future.

“There are fake tweets that were created to threaten me, but notwithstanding, the ones I wrote, I take responsibility for.

“During the course of this pandemic, I have tried to keep everyone’s spirits up and at the same time highlight the dangers. I am passionate about this and will continue to help in any way I can.”

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She responded again on Thursday, following the Daily Beast article which uncovered the racist tweets.

Godley apologised "without reservation" to "everyone I hurt" and will now donate the £12k she received for taking part in the Scottish Government Covid campaign to the STV Appeal.

She said: "I am not asking people who like me to defend the offensive things I said, I appreciate many people who enjoy my work are horrified and upset at my tweets, that’s how it should be, I am not the victim here, the people I hurt and offended are and I take that responsibility."

How has the Scottish Government responded?

The Scottish Government has now axed Godley from its Covid campaign, which is used on TV adverts and social media.

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Following Godley’s apology, a spokesperson for the government said it had removed her from the appeal due to trust in its public health messages being "paramount".

Godley will therefore no longer appear in the #StopTheSpike adverts, she was also previously paid an undisclosed sum to appear in government-funded Zero Waste Scotland promotions.


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.

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"The material will be discontinued immediately on our own channels and withdrawn as soon as possible from external media."

Godley is an avid SNP supporter and grew her public profile existentially during the Covid pandemic, when she began providing comical voiceovers of Nicola Sturgeon’s daily briefings.

On Friday 10 September, Sturgeon addressed the situation while talking on Good Morning Britain.

Sturgeon was asked whether she was angry that her government had hired Godley while these tweets remained on her profile.

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She replied: "Look, these things happen. The important thing is that action is taken.

"The most important thing to me from the start of this pandemic has been the integrity of our public health message.

"Janey has apologised and she has 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."

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