Ross Peltier, a rugby league international, has been pulled as the Green Party by-election candidate for Batley and Spen over “highly offensive” homophobic and sexist tweets.
Peltier, who was selected just last week, is a Jamaican international rugby league player and a prop forward with the Doncaster Dons.
He was due to stand in the crucial Batley and Spen by-election after Tracy Brabin, who won the seat for Labour in 2019, stepped down following her election as mayor of West Yorkshire.
But on Saturday (5 June), unearthed tweets showed that Peltier, 29, had made a multitude of homophobic and sexist comments.
In a statement posted to Twitter, he said: “A few tweets have come to light from around 10/ nine years ago from when I was 19 years of age.
“The language used is not acceptable or appropriate in any way, shape or form.
“In no way am I homophobic. I am sorry if my old tweets have caused harm or upset to anybody.
“But my growth as a person since the time of those tweets has been immeasurable.
“I hope I can be judged on my character now and not of when I was a 19-year-old.”
It is unclear if Peltier deleted any of the tweets, but those still live were posted between 2010 and 2014, when he was aged 18 to 22.
At the time of writing, there are currently 32 tweets online in which the rugby player uses “gay” as an insult, and 20 in which he uses the word “f*g”.
Other comments include referring to women as “hoes” and “b***hes”, and in one tweet he wrote: “Big brother is Some mind numbin s**t Fink a just lost a few brain cells watchin 10mins is just a house wi ugly B***hes an gays load a W**k.”
In a statement on Sunday (6 June), the Green Party said: “We were very sorry to learn of Ross Peltier’s historic but highly offensive tweets.
“We are clear that people grow and change and should not be limited by youthful mistakes. But, as a party that champions the rights of LGBTIQA+ people and their support communities, we do not feel it is right for Ross to be the party’s candidate for Batley and Spen by-election.”
On Monday (7 June), Peltier tweeted: “My candidacy has now been revoked and I will not be standing in the Batley and Spen by-election.
“I fully understand and respect the decision made.”
“I only ever wanted to help improve the area and lives of people in my community.
“If past tweets determine I’m not fit to do that then I have to accept that.”
When followers criticised his apology as “insincere”, he insisted he had “reached out to a number of organisations and want to better my education and give time to work with the LGBTQ+ community”.