Scottish artist claims she was kicked out of government campaign “because of poem about Alex Salmond”


One writer has claimed she was barred from an upcoming Scottish government advertising campaign over a poem she wrote about former Prime Minister Alex Salmond.

Leyla Josephine said she was commissioned to write a poem to mark St. Andrew’s Day by an agency acting on behalf of the government.

But she believes a verification process uncovered the poem “An Interaction with Alex Salmond,” which was written a year ago about allegations about Salmond.

He was acquitted of 13 charges in a high-profile trial in 2020.

Last night the Scottish government denied that the poem was the reason for Leyla’s abandonment.

Alex Salmond in court after his acquittal in March 2020

But she insists she was told over the phone that the poem made her give up last Friday.

Addressing the Record, Leyla said: “It was explicitly said that it was because of Alex Salmond’s poem.

“It was said over the phone, so I can’t prove it, but that was the reason.

“Potentially, they just said it as an excuse for something else.”

A Scottish government spokeswoman denied that Salmond’s poem played any role in the decision to remove her from the campaign.

She said verification processes were in place to “avoid any distraction” from her public information campaigns.

However, she did not explain why Josephine was ditched after being chosen to contribute.

The spokesperson added: “No decision has been made on who will be responsible for moving this work forward.

‘After the withdrawal of Covid marketing material in September, we confirmed that a new protocol is in place to examine potential contributors to Scottish Government campaigns to avoid distraction from the important messages they are designed to. to transmit.

“The work Ms. Joséphine refers to, however, does not prevent her from undertaking this commission.”

Speaking interpreter Leyla Joséphine
Speaking interpreter Leyla Joséphine

Leyla says she wrote the poem “for the nine women who cannot be named” – referring to the nine women named as accusers in Salmond’s trial.

The spoken word performer also drew on her own experience meeting Gordon’s ex-MP at an unidentified lunch.

A tweet from her Twitter account – which she has since made private – garnered over 100 likes in support before hiding the account from public view.

She wrote: “I just lost a job today writing a poem for the Scottish Government for St. Andrew’s Day celebrations because I wrote a poem about Alex Salmond and the allegations against him.”

Salmond has always denied all allegations of impropriety brought against him.

He was arrested in January 2019 and charged with 14 offenses, including two counts of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one of public disorder.

His trial in Edinburgh’s High Court lasted two weeks and saw him found not guilty on 12 counts and not proven on another, while a 14th count was withdrawn by prosecutors before the conclusion of the trial.

During the trial, Salmond – who is married – admitted to “falling asleep in a sleepy hug” with a Bute House official.

However, he refuted any suggestion that his actions were not consensual.

The Scottish government has stepped up its procedures for scrutinizing campaigns involving outside figures after it flip-flopped over the use of comedian Janey Godley in public information films in September.

Janey Godley was pulled from vaccination ad campaign because of racist tweets
Janey Godley was pulled from vaccination ad campaign because of racist tweets

Godley was pulled from a vaccination ad campaign after old tweets were discovered in which she used offensive language and racial stereotypes.

She then accepted that the language she used to describe African-American celebrities, including Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland and rappers 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg, was “horribly offensive.”

She was paid £ 12,000 to deal with the #stopthespike online and TV advertising campaign, which she then offered to donate to charity.

She said of her posts at the time: “They have horrible undertones and I deserve any criticism that comes my way.”

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