BBC removes satirical cartoons of politicians from social media after backlash

UK

BBC Scotland has removed satirical cartoons of politicians from social media following a backlash online.

In one of the now-deleted clips promoting Radio Scotland’s Noising Up show, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater was depicted as “Limo Lorna”.

Speaking in a Canadian accent, the caricature said she was the “minister for green skills, circular economy, biodiversity, short-haul flights and maple syrup”.

The character added: “Join me for my new streaming series, Lorna Slater’s Great Green Limousine Journeys, where I’ll be changing my climate from Holyrood to stretched limo on a 3,000-mile taxpayer-funded journey around Scotland.”

Scottish minister Ms Slater, the MSP for Lothian, has previously been criticised for her heavy use of cars and for chartering a private boat for a visit to the Isle of Rum earlier this year at a cost of £1,200.

The animation sparked outrage after being shared online.

Scotland’s culture minister Christina McKelvie branded it “dreadful”, while equalities minister Emma Roddick labelled it “unnecessarily nasty”.

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Green MSP Mark Ruskell added: “What’s funny about needing a car to do your job?”

Cartoons of other political leaders were also removed amid criticism.

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The Noising Up show is described as a “riotous mix of sketches, gags, spoofs, quickies and take-offs”.

BBC Scotland defended the role of political satire but accepted that the posts had not worked “as intended”.

Although the clips have been pulled from social media, the sketch show will still be broadcast in full on Radio Scotland and is available via BBC Sounds.

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A BBC Scotland spokesperson said: “Noising Up is a satire-led programme on Radio Scotland, and radio sketch satire has been missing for over a decade in Scotland.

“We believe satire has a role to play within public discourse and it is important that it has its place within Scotland’s political and cultural landscape.

“Animations of four of Scotland’s party leaders were created to support the programme with the intent of helping it reach a new and wider audience.

“It became clear over the weekend that the animations were not working as intended and having reflected on the reaction we have made the decision to remove them from social media while we review their use and assess the programme’s social media presence.”

Noising Up, which returned this month for a second series, first aired on Radio Scotland in September 2022.

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