Guests walk out of Scottish Football awards ceremony over ‘sexist, racist and homophobic jokes’ 

Guests walk out of Scottish Football awards ceremony over ‘sexist, racist and homophobic jokes’ 


Guests walked out of a Scottish football awards ceremony that honoured Sir Alex Ferguson last night after a keynote speaker allegedly made ‘sexist, racist and homophobic jokes’.

BBC presenter Eilidh Barbour and Women in Journalism Scotland co-chair Gabriella Bennett led a protest walkout at the Scottish Football Writers’ Association (SFWA) awards in Glasgow yesterday.

Though they have not named the keynote speaker, it is understood that Scottish former criminal barrister Bill Copeland is accused of making the allegedly incendiary remarks at the function.

Following a Twitter backlash, a representative for Mr Copeland and the SFWA both apologised for any offence caused.

Kick It Out and Women In Football released a joint statement condemning the remarks, saying the SFWA awards night ‘should not be used as a platform to share derogatory and discriminatory comments and make those groups and communities feel excluded and insulted’.

No one who has accused Mr Copeland of being offensive has yet revealed what the incriminating remarks were. 

Kick It Out and Women In Football have said they are ‘reaching out to understand the full details’ – suggesting that they condemned Mr Copeland before finding out what he actually said.

Ms Barbour tweeted: ‘Never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards.  

Guests walk out of Scottish Football awards ceremony over ‘sexist, racist and homophobic jokes’ 

Eilidh Barbour pictured reporting for STV Scottish Television

It is alleged that ex-criminal barrister Bill Copeland made 'sexist, racist and homophobic remarks' as keynote speaker. A representative for Mr Copeland told MailOnline that he was sorry for any offence caused by his remarks

It is alleged that ex-criminal barrister Bill Copeland made ‘sexist, racist and homophobic remarks’ as keynote speaker. A representative for Mr Copeland told MailOnline that he was sorry for any offence caused by his remarks

BBC presenter Eilidh Barbour tweeted: 'Never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards. A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place #callitout #equalgame'

BBC presenter Eilidh Barbour tweeted: ‘Never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards. A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place #callitout #equalgame’

Women in Journalism Scotland co-chair Gabriella Bennett added: 'I was at these awards tonight and sat through the same sexist and racist jokes made by a keynote speaker. My table walked out at the same time Eilidh's did'

Women in Journalism Scotland co-chair Gabriella Bennett added: ‘I was at these awards tonight and sat through the same sexist and racist jokes made by a keynote speaker. My table walked out at the same time Eilidh’s did’

‘A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place #callitout #equalgame’. 

Replying on Twitter, Ms Bennett added: ‘I was at these awards tonight and sat through the same sexist and racist jokes made by a keynote speaker. My table walked out at the same time Eilidh’s did’. 

In a statement, the SFWA said: ‘The Scottish Football Writers’ Association apologises to anyone offended or upset by material from one of our after-dinner speakers at last night’s annual awards dinner.  

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‘We have agreed unanimously that this will act as a catalyst to review and improve the format of our future events to make it an enjoyable and inspirational event for all.’ 

In a joint statement, Kick It Out and Women In Football said: ‘We have been made aware of sexist, racist and homophobic remarks made at the Scottish Football Writers’ Awards last night, during an after-dinner speech.

‘Women face sexism and misogyny in society, and this is often exacerbated when they play a role in football and other sports – whether they’re a player, a pundit or a fan. That must change.

‘Racism and homophobia continue to be a stain on the game, and we must continue to challenge it and eradicate it. There is no place for any form of discrimination, in sport or anywhere else.

‘Events that celebrate talent in our game should be a time to focus on the positives and all the people who have played their part in pushing football forward.

‘It should not be used as a platform to share derogatory and discriminatory comments and make groups and communities feel excluded and insulted. We expect better and we demand better.

‘The fact we have been made aware by those in attendance that they felt unwelcome in an industry they work in is unacceptable, and we stand with them.

‘We acknowledge the apology issued by the Scottish Football Writers’ Association and look forward to their promised review of future events. In the meantime we will be reaching out to understand the full details and offer our support to those affected.’

Ex-Manchester United and Aberdeen manager Sir Alex was among the attendees at the ceremony in Glasgow, at which he collected the SFWA’s Lifetime Achievement award. 

MailOnline has also contacted Ms Barbour, Ms Bennett and the SFWA for further comment.

It is not the first football awards ceremony to have been engulfed by sexism and racism storms.

At a PFA dinner in 1997, football agent Rachel Anderson was banned from attending what was then a men-only event.

After being refused entry on the night of the ceremony, she duly took the PFA to court and won.

At the same dinner in 2013, black comedian Reginald D Hunter repeatedly used the N-word and made jokes about Jews and women. Then-PFA chairman Clark Carlisle admitted afterwards that he and his colleagues had made a ‘gross error of judgment’ in booking Hunter.

Were YOU at the awards? Email jack.wright@mailonline.co.uk 



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Author: Shirley