Last Friday I forwarded a statement to a journalist from the Sunday Herald who kindly offered me a right of reply to a story about my recent work around domestic abuse.
While it is never fun to be scrutinised so publicly I do recognise this is part and parcel of being privileged enough to have a public platform. Therefore, I would like to thank the Sunday Herald and the journalist concerned, as well as those who’ve been driving this issue forward over the last two weeks, for being so robust in pursuing what they believe to be right.
While there are some aspects of the piece I disagree with I see no reason to dispute the central conceit of the article and would rigorously defend any person’s right to freely express their opinions and voice their pointed concerns on any issue – even if I don’t share them.
It was always my intention to provoke a frank exchange of views but it goes without saying that I would do many things differently if given the chance and would like to take full responsibility for my role in this whole affair.
The statement I submitted to the Sunday Herald, after initially declining to comment, was published, in part, online and in today’s paper. For the avoidance of doubt I would like to publish it here in full.
“Domestic abuse, and the wider issue of gender inequality, are issues that should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. My recent work around gender-based violence was an honest attempt, as a male artist, to bring this issue to a section of my audience – men who are the main perpetrator’s of abuse.
But I accept, completely, that my attempt to explore this issue has been undermined by the film’s director, Andrew MacKenzie, as well as my subsequent handling of the situation.
To be clear, Andrew has behaved idiotically in the aftermath of valid criticisms. His abusive and misogynistic language towards his detractors was utterly appalling and totally unacceptable.
I take full responsibility for the stupid decision to employ him for this project and cannot overstate how sorry I am for the pain and anger caused as a direct result of my poor judgement.
While I believe that as an artist, writer and survivor of abuse, I deserve the freedom to explore the issues of the day – and even misspeak or be wrong without fear of public condemnation – I also acknowledge that my personal and professional perspective is only a tiny piece of the wider picture in terms of domestic abuse. I should have consulted more closely with women’s groups, who have a far deeper understanding of gender-based violence than I, prior to commenting on this issue.
My failure to do so has led to this entirely regrettable affair for which I would like to wholeheartedly apologise.”
I have nothing further to add. Thank you for your time.