Scottish Football Writers' Awards sees table walk out after 'next level' racist and sexist jokes

Guests at the event walked out due to some of the material delivered by after dinner speaker Bill Copeland

Published

A group of women have lambasted The Scottish Football Writers' Association awards after a comedian's performance led them to walk out of the event.

The football awards ceremony celebrated the career of Sir Alex Ferguson as well as naming goalkeeper Craig Gordon as its player of the year.

But the event was marred for some by the material of after dinner speaker, Bill Copeland.

His comments, which have been described as "next level" racist, sexist and homophobic caused spectators including Gabriella Bennett to walk out.

Gabriella Bennett
Gabriella Bennett

Ms Bennett, the co-chair of Women In Journalism Scotland, told BBC Radio Scotland: “I really enjoy it as an event, but there are always off-colour jokes made by the speakers … sexist or misogynistic.

"But last night’s speech was really next-level. I walked out after about five minutes of maybe a 20-minute speech.

“My table stood up to leave, and I saw Eilidh Barbour and people on her table start to leave. But there were loads of people laughing at these jokes.

"We were two tables in an enormous room and lots of people found it really funny, so there’s lots of work that we still need to do in really changing people’s minds about what’s acceptable.

“I’m no longer shocked or surprised by these kind of offensive remarks masquerading as banter … but I am sickened – by normalising this kind of thing, by minimising these kind of remarks … it’s incredibly insidious.

"It’s really damaging for women trying to be respected. It allows men to speak to women in a certain way in a professional situation.”

The SFWA apologised for the incident, pledging to learn from it.

It stated: "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.

"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."