Janey Godley: Scottish comedian abandons role in upcoming Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre ‘Beauty and the Beast’ pantomime

Janey Godley has abandoned a role in major a Christmas pantomime “by mutual agreement” with producers, after offensive online posts she authored were unearthed earlier this week.

Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) announced the stand-up star would not appear in the upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast at His Majesty’s Theatre later this year.

It comes after Ms Godley, who found viral fame with her dubbed pastiches of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s coronavirus news briefings, was axed from the Scottish Government’s #StopTheSpike health campaign over the social media posts.

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According to The Scottish Sun and US news website the Daily Beast, the 60-year-old former pub landlord made offensive remarks about black American celebrities including Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland, and rappers 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.

The news broke soon after the Covid-19 ads featuring Ms Godley, for which she was paid £12,000, were released.

The comedian has profusely apologised for the tweets and donated the fee she was paid by the Scottish Government to charity.

On Friday afternoon, the publicly funded APA issued a joint statement alongside the panto’s producers.

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spokesperson said: “Janey Godley, by mutual agreement with Crossroads Pantomimes and Aberdeen Performing Arts, has withdrawn from Beauty and the Beast at HMT Aberdeen this Christmas.

Janey Godley has abandoned a role in major a Christmas pantomime “by mutual agreement” with producers, after offensive online posts she authored were unearthed earlier this week.

“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.

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

Earlier on Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Ms Godley’s tweets were “completely beyond the pale.”

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Ms Sturgeon said: “I would not in any way, shape or form seek to defend them.

“The most important thing is we don’t allow commentary and debate, legitimate and understandable debate around [the tweets] to get in the way of our public health messages and that for me is the most important principle here.”

The First Minister also said there were “no plans” to feature Ms Godley in other government adverts.

She added: “Janey has apologised – I think she has been pretty straightforward and dignified in her apology.

“She’s a comedian – as she said herself she thought it gave her licence to say things that she now accepts were completely out of order and unacceptable.”

Last October, the First Minister referred to Ms Godley as her “alter ego” and praised her for “giving us reasons to laugh in an otherwise dark time”.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday, Ms Godley said: “I thought being an outspoken comedian meant I could get away with saying anything I wanted and people would accept that and not 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 horrific undertones and I deserve all the criticism that comes my way.”

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