Creative Scotland to withdraw funding for explicit sex project

Creative Scotland will withdraw public funding awarded to an explicit sex project, the arts body has confirmed.

Concern was raised after the Sunday Post revealed £84,555 was given to the Rein project in January, which was recruiting actors to participate in “non-simulated” – or real – and hardcore “sex scenes”.

Creative Scotland, which awarded the 45-minute production cash through the National Lottery Open Fund, said the funding is now being withdrawn after it emerged details of the project breached the contractual obligations.

It said it will ask for the funds to be returned in full.

A spokeswoman said: “Following a review of the application, assessment and contractual agreement regarding the project Rein, Creative Scotland has made the decision to withdraw support for this project and will be seeking recovery of funding paid in respect of this award to date.

“What has emerged in the latest phase of the project represents a breach of the conditions of funding award, as the nature of the project has changed. The central role that ‘non-simulated’ (ie real) sex acts now play in the project marks a significant change to the nature of the work presented in the original application which was assessed for funding.

“This significant change to the nature of the work has been evidenced in the most recent announcement on the project’s website, without the agreement of Creative Scotland.”

The contract for the Creative Scotland fund said “no changes may be made to a project without prior written permission”, and recipients are required to carry out the plan as set out in the initial application.

Angus Robertson
Angus Robertson said he shared concerns about the funding (PA)

Earlier in the week, Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said he “shares the concerns” over the funding allocation, adding he sees “no way” where it would have been appropriate.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby raised the matter in Holyrood, expressing concern the project, which offered £270 per day for actors, could take advantage of “vulnerable” groups, including the disabled.

He said the acts were so explicit that “psychological aftercare” was offered to performers.

Following the announcement, Mr Bibby said: “This was an extraordinarily inappropriate use of public money and Creative Scotland’s decision to recover it is welcome.

“It is important that lessons are learned from this debacle so we can ensure public money is spent well in the future.

“In the interests of transparency, the original application should still be published.

“Creative Scotland must ensure that the funding process is fit for purpose and all public money is used well.”

Creative Scotland added: “Creative Scotland makes in the region of 2,000 funding awards each year. We support artists and projects across all art forms, some of which are challenging in content, and push creative and social boundaries.

“However, Creative Scotland has important responsibilities to the public for the appropriate use of public funding, and, as recipients of that public funding, award recipients also have legal responsibilities as reflected in their funding contract.”

Calls have been made for the public arts body to release the full application details, however it told the PA news agency it was unable to do so because of “business confidentiality”.

Project director Leonie Rae Gasson has been asked for comment.