Labour MP says sorry for old web posts about Girls Aloud ‘orgy’

23 Oct

A Labour MP has apologised for posting a series of derogatory comments about celebrities before he was elected but said he would not resign from parliament’s equalities committee.

The Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara said he was deeply ashamed at the online posts, which joked about having an orgy with members of Girls Aloud, claimed Michelle McManus only won Pop Idol “because she was fat”, and suggested it would be funny if jazz star Jamie Cullum was “sodomised with his own piano”.

The comments – reported by the Guido Fawkes website – prompted calls for O’Mara to be sacked from the Commons women and equalities committee.

O’Mara said he wanted to continue to sit on the committee in order to work to confront misogyny. “I understand why they are offensive and sincerely apologise for my use of such unacceptable language,” the MP said in a statement. “I made the comments as a young man, at a particularly difficult time in my life, but that is no excuse.”

O’Mara said his views had changed significantly since he posted the comments on the Drowned in Sound music website in 2004. “I have learned about inequalities of power and how violent language perpetuates them,” he said.

“I continue to strive to be a better man and work where I can to confront misogyny, which is why I’m so proud to sit on the women and equalities select committee. I will continue to engage with, and crucially learn from, feminist and other equalities groups so as an MP I can do whatever I can to tackle misogyny.”

In a comment posted on Drowned in Sound, O’Mara wrote: “Girls Aloud – I advise you to sack Sarah and the remaining four members [Nicola, Cheryl, Nadine and Kimberley] come have an orgy with me.”

Girls Aloud reformed for a UK tour in 2013.



Girls Aloud reformed for a UK tour in 2013. Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

In March 2004, on the same forum, he suggested Pop Idol’s 2003 victor, McManus, had “only won because she was fat”.

O’Mara, who has cerebral palsy, added: “Being a disabled person, I would hate to win something because people thought I was ‘brave’ or felt sorry for me, rather than for my superior ability/talent.”

In the same post, he said of Cullum: “It would be no great loss to the music world if he was sodomised with his own piano and subsequently died of a sore arse. In fact, it would be quite funny.”

The Liberal Democrat peer and former leader of Sheffield council Paul Scriven claimed: “It seems like a nasty pattern of sexist language and misogyny is developing from the Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam.

“He clearly isn’t fit to sit on the women and equalities committee. He must stand down from that committee immediately and if he doesn’t, Jeremy Corbyn must take action to remove him. Having spoken to voters in Sheffield Hallam, they are beginning to question what kind of MP he is.”

The Labour MP Jess Phillips, who sits on the committee with O’Mara, said she was saddened by the comments but said she hoped lessons would be learned. She tweeted:

Jess Phillips
(@jessphillips)

I’ve been with my kids all day as it is half term so only just seeing the Jared stuff. I’m sad he said and thought it, I’m glad he’s apologised. I hope people are learning.


October 23, 2017

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who also sits on the committee, said: “Jared’s comments are obviously unacceptable and he’s rightfully apologised for making them. Jared has, however, told me personally that he’s been on a very long journey since he posted the comments 15 years ago, made at a troubled time in his life, and I think it takes some self-awareness to acknowledge that and say it publicly. He should get some credit for that.”

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