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by Kirsteen Paterson
12 March 2024
Angus Robertson: 'Explicit' sex film should not have received public money

Angus Robertson MSP | Alamy

Angus Robertson: 'Explicit' sex film should not have received public money

An "explicit" sex film should not have received public money, Angus Robertson has told MSPs.

Creative Scotland agreed a grant of almost £85,000 for the development of Rein, a 45-minute flick which was to feature participants engaging in "non-simulated" sex and "hardcore" acts.

The money was approved through the National Lottery Open Fund and the filmmakers sought to recruit over-18s with previous sex work experience "particularly in porn contexts" to apply to feature in what would be a "magical erotic journey through a distinctly Scottish landscape".

News of the funding to director Leonie Rae Gasson provoked outcry and Creative Scotland said it was reviewing the decision, stating that the project was "considerably more explicit" than set out in the initial application.

Now culture secretary Angus Robertson has said it should never have been funded.

He told MSPs: "I share the concerns that have been raised, including by Creative Scotland itself.

"I can see no way where what has been described should be in receipt of public funding.

"As members are aware, the Scottish Government has no role in the decisions of Creative Scotland for the funding of individual projects. However, Creative Scotland are, I understand, rapidly reviewing this allocation as they have been clear that what as been reported simply does not meet what the funding was applied for."

Labour MSP Neil Bibby said the film team had tried to "recruit vulnerable people, including the disabled, at £300 a day to participate in sex acts so extreme they would be provided with psychological aftercare".

He asked if Robertson agreed that all funds "should be clawed back" and called for a review of funding criteria guidance, as well as the publication of the initial application.

Bibby said: "There needs to be openness and transparency from Creative Scotland.

"The application should be published in full. 

"It has been reported that the filming was to involve live sex acts and to be done in outdoor public places in the Highlands. There are clearly questions to be answered not just about the appropriateness of what was planned with public funds, but also the legality."

Robertson, who said he had no prior knowledge of the issue before weekend news reports, said: "I have absolutely no doubt that these proceedings are being watched closely by Creative Scotland and I also have no doubt that the points that he has raised thus far are ones that they will be listening to closely. I await the conclusions of their review into the matter and any outstanding questions which have been raised by colleagues in relation to how Creative Scotland have conducted the review the conclusions that they've made and the actions that they will take."

He went on: "I'm sure everybody is very keen that politicians and government do not stray into the areas of creative expression. Having said that, we have an arm's length organisation that has very clear rules about how public funds are to be applied for and for their purpose. That is currently what has been looked at. I expect that Creative Scotland will be reporting back quickly and no doubt we will come back to discuss the conclusions are of that review."

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