Nicola Sturgeon was warned ‘using Janey Godley in Covid campaign carries risk’

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  • Janey Godley
    British actor, writer and comedian
  • Nicola Sturgeon
    Nicola Sturgeon
    5th First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party
Using comedian Janey Godley for a Scottish Government TV campaign ‘does not come without some risk’ Nicola Sturgeon was told (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Using comedian Janey Godley for a Scottish Government TV campaign ‘does not come without some risk’ Nicola Sturgeon was told (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon was advised that using comedian Janey Godley in TV adverts to boost compliance with Covid restrictions “does not come without some risk”.

A briefing note sent to the First Minister, as well as her Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Health Secretary Humza Yousaf pointed out while Ms Godley is “supportive” of restrictions, she could be “outspoken” and her social media content “carries profanities”.

However, it said her “no nonsense, straight-talking approach” could appeal to a wide range of people, particularly younger Scots.

Ms Godley’s twitter page carries profanities regularly as does her social media content. So using Ms Godley does not come without some risk.

Briefing paper sent to Nicola Sturgeon

Ms Godley was paid £12,000 for the TV adverts – but these were dropped by the Scottish Government amid reports she had made offensive remarks about black American celebrities including Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland and rappers 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.

The comedian, who found viral fame with her dubbed pastiches of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s coronavirus news briefings, later apologised for her “offensive, hurtful language” and donated the fee she was paid by the Scottish Government to charity.

The briefing note, released by the Scottish Government under Freedom of Information, revealed that concerns about using her to front the adverts were raised with the First Minister.

While the note recommended using her for the campaign, it stated: “Ministers should, however, be aware that Ms Godley can be outspoken about a number of subject matters including Donald Trump, other political parties, woman’s rights and topical stories.

“Ms Godley’s twitter page carries profanities regularly as does her social media content. So using Ms Godley does not come without some risk.”

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