'Hateful online troll' part of Scottish Government business representative programme being spoken to
Scottish Enterprise is speaking to a member of the GlobalScot business network who was revealed to be a hateful online troll.
The Daily Record raised the fact James McLeary, an IT security expert based in Thailand, was behind a Twitter account that posted abuse to politicians. This included branding politicians “traitors” and “quislings”, a phrase used during the Second World War to describe Nazi collaborators.
Mr McLeary is also part of the ‘GlobalScot’ network, a community of internationally-based business ambassadors organised and controlled by publicly-owned body Scottish Enterprise.
Speaking to The Scotsman, the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Adrian Gillespie, said a process was underway to discuss the future of Mr McLeary’s role, but fell short of saying he would be removed from the network.
Mr Gillespie said: “We have expectations of GlobalScots, we expect them to be professional, courteous. There's a code of conduct and we expect them to abide by that. That's our expectations. We are looking at the current issue and we're in conversation with the Global Scot involved and we're just working through the next steps there.
"I can't tell you what the outcome of that [process] is going to be. At the moment clearly we would look at the whole picture here and have discussions with the Global Scot as well. So we've kicked that off and I'm sure it's a situation you'll be kept updated with."
Economy secretary Neil Gray added: "I'm aware that Scottish Enterprise are dealing with that and I'm awaiting the outcome of that discussion.”
The SNP minister was also pressed on a recent dossier presented to his party by prospective Labour candidate and former director of Better Together, Blair McDougall, which outlined a series of abusive SNP members and called for the party to take action.
Mr Gray said it was “demonstrably not true” that online abuse was an issue just facing the Yes movement. He said: “I can show you my social media platforms and colleagues that Blair McDougall would be supportive of that have given me significant abuse, my colleagues significant abuse.
"This is not a phenomenon based on one side of a constitutional debate or one party. This is an issue where social media, some aspects of social media in particular, are vehicles for public figures, political organisations and many others to receive abuse.
"It is not acceptable. Obviously in all aspects I would expect people to behave courteously and treat each other with respect online.
"For our part on the Yes side and in terms of the SNP, always encourage that in terms of our membership. We don't want to see any abuse or harassment online.
"But the idea that this is an issue that is contained only for the SNP or only for the Yes movement is not true and it is demonstrably not true if you look at the abuse and harassment that some of my colleagues and myself have received not just in the past but currently."
A spokesperson for Scottish Enterprise said: “Scottish Enterprise expects GlobalScots to be courteous and professional in line with the code of conduct. We are addressing the tweets with Mr McLeary directly and cannot provide further comment at this time.”
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