LGBT awards ceremony accused of using ‘blacked-up’ models

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An LGBT awards ceremony in Scotland has been accused by anti-racism campaigners of using “blacked-up” models.

The Icon Awards, which was organised by the Glasgow-based Paramount Creative events company, has become embroiled in an argument over the models.

While anti-racism campaigners say the models, who appeared at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow, were “blacked-up”, organisers say they meant to represent “luxury but not colour or creed.”

Underwear company Andrew Christian initially provided garments for the awards ceremony but after seeing photos of the models, distanced itself from the controversy.

The awards claims to “showcase the achievements of the LBGT community.”

A statement from event manager Michael Macfarlane said he was “saddened” that the images had been seen as negative and apologised “to anyone who has taken offence”. He added: “We had no derogatory or negative intention with the models in question, and the gold and black body art was solely used to symbolise luxury not colour or creed.”

A spokesman from Andrew Christian said: “When we saw the pictures we realised that was not something we would like to support and we are not ­going to contribute in the ­future.”

Green MSP Patrick Harvie, told the Scotsman: “I’m not involved, but I am amazed that it seems not to have occurred to the organisers that ‘blacking-up’ is not OK… I don’t think anybody suggests there is racist intent, but really people should have the good sense to avoid this kind of imagery.”

The Edinburgh University Student Association’s Black and Minority Ethnic Liberation Group added: “The use of blackface has long been recognised as an insidious form of racial hatred and ignorance. The use of this despicable practice is incredibly damaging and actively perpetuates the oppression of black communities.”