Acting could soon be a hate crime

Performers in Scotland could be punished for playing ‘offensive’ roles under a new hate-crime law.



Scotland’s new hate-crime bill could result in actors being punished for portraying offensive characters. The SNP’s disdain for free speech is not even limited to real people.

The bill is intended to prevent harm to potential victims of hate crime. But it would criminalise anything deemed likely to ‘stir up hatred’ against people on the basis of their age, religion, gender identity or other protected characteristics – even if it is an actor pretending to be racist, transphobic or bigoted for the purposes of a play.

Even the Scottish wing of the Labour Party – hardly a reliable friend of free speech – has criticised the bill.

It is not clear who gets to decide what is likely to stir up hatred, or how that hatred is defined. This ambiguity has led the Law Society of Scotland to express its concern that ‘even an actor’s performance, which might well be deemed insulting or offensive, could result in a criminal conviction under the terms of the bill’.

We can all think of plays which feature racist or homophobic characters, often presented in a negative light. If such performances are made a legal issue, just imagine how much material could be censored – and how many actors could potentially face criminal charges.

It is hard to believe it is necessary to defend the freedom of actors and writers to produce offensive content. Absurdly, this bill would undermine the entire point of acting – to convincingly portray someone other than yourself. If actors’ performances are seen to be reflections of their own views, it will kill the performing arts.

This is a new low for censorship in Britain.

Picture by: Getty.

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Jack Sprat

4th August 2020 at 4:22 pm

All actors should sign up to promise never ever to impersonate anyone again. Coming back to Film “ Life of Brian” does anyone know if the promised follow up film “ Life of Munda” has been made yet ?


3rd August 2020 at 11:30 pm

Brad Pitt’s ‘acting’ IS a hate crime, and probably a gross violation of the Geneva Convention.

Chauncey Gardiner

3rd August 2020 at 6:02 pm

Scotland. Home of my forebears. Reliably an embarrassment to itself and to the world for the last 70 years. No wonder my people left.

Gerry Mander

2nd August 2020 at 2:56 pm

Politicians are the enemies of the rest of us. Those who aspire to a “career” in politics should not be allowed to do so. They are temperamentally unsuited to the job. The problem is they all think they should dictate how we should live our lives, but are therefore the least desirable to be given that power.

Jolly Roger

31st July 2020 at 5:11 pm

It’s bad, isn’t it?
Have to allow mysef a wry smile though. Here is the continuation of a recent emerging trend of ultra wokists eating the woke. Feminism is being savaged by Transgender, having spent decades induging in all sorts of cultural rabble rousing themselves – J K Rowling being one such example, another being Jermain Greer, or how about Tatchell? All once front line cultural warriors and now all no platformed or cancelled.
Now we see actors – many are the ‘wokist of the woke’ staring into the abbyss. Every role is surely, offensive to some f***g nutcase out there and that’s how wokism and cancel culture works. It doesn’rthave to be widespread offence, or reasoned offence – like holocaust denial – it just takes one little pressure group in the back room of a Camden boozer to claim that they are being hated, because someone has eaten a chicken pot noodle in front of them…or some such nonsense.
We’ve also just had the spectacle of the left and woke screaming for lockdown in March – presumably sniffing a last ditch attempt to stop Brexit or bring down the Government that the great unwashed voted in against their wishes -many of them wokey actor types. That mob outside Cummings house two months ago had load of theatre directors, theatre managers, actors in there midsts – all now out of work because they didn’t realise that the lockdown would wreck the west end…hilarious and jut so…right, somehow.
I’m rapidly getting to the stage where I just sit back and laugh.

Paul Thomas

29th July 2020 at 9:24 am

“The bill is intended to prevent harm to potential victims of hate crime. But it would criminalise anything deemed likely to ‘stir up hatred’ against people on the basis of their age, religion, gender identity or other protected characteristics – even if it is an actor pretending to be racist, transphobic or bigoted for the purposes of a play.”

Maybe the SNP are boxing clever here. By putting something so extreme into the bill as applying to acting, they’re hoping everyone will fixate on that, and they’ll more easily get the rest of this draconian legislation through.

steve moxon

28th July 2020 at 11:05 pm

The whole ‘hate crime’ shtick is going to blow up.
SEE ….. ‘The Falsity of Identity Politics: Negative Attitude is Towards Males who are Different, in Policing Sexual Access by Gate-Keeping Group Membership’. New Male Studies 2019, 8(2), 20-51.
ABSTRACT: Identity politics (often dubbed political correctness: PC) victim categories (protected characteristics) are shown to be false. Negative attitude is specifically towards males, and evoked by any form of significant difference. Previous findings that misogyny has no scientific basis, with the evidence instead of philogyny and misandry, extend to apply across all victim categories, trumping race or sexual orientation. This is revealed in the predominance of males as hate crime victims, the harsher attitude towards apparently more masculine subsets of sexual minority and race, and experimentally. Supposed homophobia is revealed to be a far wider phenomenon, encompassing all victim categories, manifest culturally in male initiation and scientifically evidenced across fields. It functions to gate-keep male full admission to the group, serving to police male sexual access, maximising reproductive efficiency, not to deal with out-group threat, nor to oppress (least of all females). Identity politics is extreme misrepresentation of social and inter-personal reality.

Dodgy Geezer

28th July 2020 at 5:59 pm

Surely there will be no need for the portrayal of anyone or anything offensive in our new glorious Socialist Republic?

Tolar Owen

28th July 2020 at 4:50 pm

So, there’s a $15? billion annual international industry in violent pornography. Millions of visits each day to sites that have photos of women and barely of age (and sometimes underage, when monitors report it) girls being slapped, punched, beaten, verbally degraded, raped in every orifice, often simultaneously by multiple men. How is that these people concerned about ‘hate speech” in the theatre remain so silent about pornography, much of which is in fact documentation of illegal activities?

I mean, if there were a $15 billion industry devoted to people having orgasms while watching lynch mobs hang black men, you’d think there’d be some outrage. But torturing females is A-OK? I’m confused.

Bet you how this gets stopped, is that the misogynist men driving a lot of the Wokeness and their liberal feminist handmaidens will realize that enforcing this would mean applying it to porn “actresses.” Since racialized porn is actually a genre with black women shown as slaves in chains, perhaps they’ll stop when they realize their porn industry will be threatened? Or else they’ll have to admit that the women and girls (and some boys) being abused in the making of pornography aren’t really actresses after all–they were the true victims, all along.

John Pretty

28th July 2020 at 9:18 pm

You must be reading a different article. I can see no references to pornography in the author’s piece.

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

30th July 2020 at 1:06 pm

To be fair, the first paragraph of Tolar Owen’s comment said, ‘How is it that these people concerned about ‘hate speech” in the theatre remain so silent about pornography, much of which is in fact documentation of illegal activities?’ You must not be reading T. Owen’s comment attentively. It is a perfectly reasonable response to the article. Unlike yours to his.

Mark Bretherton

28th July 2020 at 3:41 pm

‘This is a new low for censorship in Britain’

errrr, no. This is a new low for censorship in Scotland, since the rest of Britain or inded the UK have no say on what happens north of the border.

John Pretty

28th July 2020 at 9:09 pm

What’s your point? The author is correct.

Scotland is located on the island of Great Britain and is a part of the United Kingdom. “Britain” as a colloquialism is perfectly reasonable here.

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

30th July 2020 at 1:29 pm

I agree with M. Bretherton. Scotland has always had it’s own legal system. If they pass their p.c. Bill, censorship law will in fact diverge from that of the rest of Britain. I don’t think you can reasonably accuse the UK of ‘guilt by association’ for Scotland’s bad lawmaking. But it certainly sets a bad example, and is a legal folly the rest of Britain would do well to avoid. Because, by the same token, even your generalised and colloquially-denominated notion of ‘Britain’ is entirely free to retain those sensible laws concerning censorship as they currently apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The point you seek to make is thus fatally muddled, and completely otiose.

Dean 61

28th July 2020 at 1:56 pm

I’m assuming that hatred of the dreaded Sassenach will still be allowable in the new Soviet State of Scotland

John Pretty

28th July 2020 at 9:10 pm

That will be mandatory, comrade.

Walter Mitty

28th July 2020 at 1:43 pm

I’m not aware of any pushback from the creative/arts sector in Scotland, they are probably too scared to criticise the SNP in public. The only high profile dissenting voices I’m aware of have all been from the legal professional.

Sadly this Bill appears to have almost universal support amongst MSPs and if you contact your representative (regardless of party affiliation) the stock response is “Intolerance, bigotry, racism or prejudice of any kind should not be accepted anywhere in a civilised society.”

The removal of the blasphemy law is a sleight of hand act as the potential new law is way worse. Yet again the SNP are unbelievably arrogant in their approach.

Scotland is turning into a police-state and it would be way worse if independence happened. I’m baffled as to why the people of Scotland always fall inline with so little resistance.

Jonathan Marshall

29th July 2020 at 5:53 pm

No, not much of the “Braveheart” spirit among the inhabitants of the Tartan North Korea.

John Bowman

28th July 2020 at 1:20 pm

Lord Chamberlain call your office.

The UK has become a TARDIS hurtling back through time. In due course trial by ordeal, the village pond for suspected witches and burning of heretics will be back.

John Pretty

28th July 2020 at 9:13 pm

It returned about 20 years ago …

Stephen J

28th July 2020 at 1:02 pm

It seems to me that the continuous stream of hateful invective that emanates from the permanent state and the government towards its people is actually harmful… not potentially… the recent activity around the covid confection is typical.

However, I don’t see any rush from government to shut its trap and stop demanding ever more of our cash for the seemingly endless hate to continue?

Kevin Turner

28th July 2020 at 12:47 pm

This moves censorship from tragedy to farce.

Dominic Straiton

28th July 2020 at 12:43 pm

Nothing surprises from the Scottish national socialist workers party

Stephen J

28th July 2020 at 1:05 pm

Yes Scotch lives matter!

John Pretty

28th July 2020 at 9:11 pm

Scots. Scots hate it when people say “scotch”.

Andy Paul

28th July 2020 at 12:30 pm

Soon there will be an end to freedom other than, to borrow a little from Orwell, those few square inches behind your eyes…

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

30th July 2020 at 2:30 pm

The passage in ‘1984’ is:

‘On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette Packet — everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed — no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.’

I regret to say that many of our fellow-Britons have allowed even that valuable attic space to be commandeered for the billetting of a Thought-Police observer; of course the poor lodger, Mr Superego, had to be evicted. He just disappeared one night, and from then on a completely different atmosphere prevailed in the place.

Everyone creeps about like mice, hoping their obscure burden of guilt for being alive will go unnoticed, yet fearfully conspiring with the cat-like prowler in their darkened souls, paralysed nonentities only able to define themselves by offering up their torment to those transfixing feral eyes, so that oblivion will put emptiness out of it’s misery.

Identity is no longer seen as a personal and spiritual sanctuary, but has been usurped by prescribed political ideology. Indoctrination and terror-hygiene are the rule, minds and bodies doctored into idiocy and docility.

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

30th July 2020 at 2:32 pm

My respectful reply is pending. Perhaps I should have posted it in a letter? It would have come to your attention much sooner.

James Knight

28th July 2020 at 12:05 pm

The general approach seems to be that everything should be assumed to be criminal. Then it should be left to the police, the courts the great and the good to decide who is cancelled.

Stephen J

28th July 2020 at 1:04 pm

Yes that is the EU approach, we voted for it to stop, but it seems to have ratcheted.

Philip St. John Lewis Davies

30th July 2020 at 2:58 pm

Increasingly we are indeed being put on licence for our lives, only permitted to exist on sufferance as the mere property of the Government, to be disposed of as and when it is expedient for unaccountable Authority.

The ethos of Continental legislatures increasingly prevails, which dictates that only what is expressly permitted is legal, and that consequently the extra-legal is automatically a proscription on free action by the citizen. It is a Charter for Secret Policemen to go trawling for ‘crimes’. Only licensed acts permitted.

The old English Common Law assumption was that everything not expressly forbidden by law was no concern of Authority, thus permitting a free people to act at their own discretion without unnecessary official interference.

But official interference in our daily lives is now becoming intolerable. Unfortunately, many people actively seek to be drawn into the suffocating bosom of the State. They not only find it congenial, but are incapable of coping without it. Such infantilised dependecy is ideal prey to our abusive elites.

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