A St. Clement Deputy has refused to back down following backlash on Twitter over comments about Oprah Winfrey that were branded by a number of users as “racist” and “misogynistic".
In a tweet yesterday afternoon, Deputy Lindsay Ash - who ran for election with the campaign slogan 'Get on the L.Ash' - likened US television host Oprah Winfrey to footballer Ian Wright in drag, following her interview with Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
“This Harry and Megan interview seems to have caused a bit of a furore , what baffles me is why Ian Wright dressed up as Mrs Doubtfire to do it,” Deputy Ash said, repeating similar comparisons made by other Twitter users earlier.
This Harry and Megan interview seems to have caused a bit of a furore , what baffles me is why Ian Wright dressed up as Mrs Doubtfire to do it. pic.twitter.com/budI4ewp3F— LINDSAY ASH (@Getonthelash2) March 8, 2021
Following this, users called the Deputy out on the comments, with various responses labelling them as “reprehensible”, and “wrong on so many levels.”
One commenter pointed out Deputy Ash’s status as a Government Minister, saying: “Why would you mock anyone for their looks? Reprehensible from anyone but you're a government minister.”
Another questioned the timing of the comments, saying: “International Women’s Day and you decide to mock a woman for her looks. Nice."
Citizens’ Advice Chief Malcolm Ferey further weighed in on the conversation, urging Deputy Ash to delete his tweets.
Pictured: Citizens' Advice Chief Malcolm Ferey urged Deputy Ash to rethink his comments and take them down.
"Instead of expending any more energy trying to justify it, perhaps it’s time to just do the decent thing. Recognise that it was an ill conceived and badly timed joke (if that’s genuinely what it was), then take the post down and apologise," Mr Ferey said.
However, despite these responses, Deputy Ash has defended his comments as “observational comedy” which will “amuse some and offend those who wish to find it offensive.”
In a follow-up tweet, he further refuted claims that his initial comment was sexist or racist, claiming it was “neither of those things,” and that it was “merely an observation” on two people’s looks.
There are those on here who have construed my earlier Tweet as being misogynistic &/or racist ,in my opinion it is neither of these things . It was a mere observation on 2 people's looks .that may be unfunny ,it may be harsh on the 2 involved it is not misogynistic or racist tho— LINDSAY ASH (@Getonthelash2) March 8, 2021
The issue of online conduct is currently a hot topic locally.
Last week, a Guernsey Deputy was suspended after an Express investigation revealed him to be behind a fake account posing as a member of the public, trolling deputies and accusing Holocaust historian, Dr Gilly Carr, of being "not local" and to "leave Guernsey alone."
Meanwhile, following online abuse received by Deputy Inna Gardiner last month, Jersey's Chief Minister has requested civil servants, in consultation with the Police and the Law Officers’ Department, draft up new guidance around online abuse.
Discussing the new guidance, Senator Le Fondré said it would be “designed to offer greater clarity and certainty and therefore greater protection to islanders”.
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