A Northern Ireland political leader has apologized after tweeting a joke referring to a rival’s wife and a brothel.
Former union leader Doug Beattie said it was clear he had offended some people with the joke about DUP Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and that it was “just that I apologize for have done it”.
Mr Beattie said the joke was not his and he was sharing something sent to him. He has now deleted the post.
Last night I posted a joke – presented it as a joke. It was an attempt at humor, nothing more.
In no way would I intentionally offend anyone, but clearly I did, so it’s only fair that I apologize for doing so.
We can all make mistakes, my choice of joke was a mistake. pic.twitter.com/OXyNF6UZHu
— Doug Beattie (@BeattieDoug) January 23, 2022
The joke described a fictional scenario involving the MP for Upper Bann, Mr Beattie and Mr Poots in a barber shop. He was referring to Mr. Poots’ wife and a brothel.
“Last night I posted a joke – presented it as a joke. It was an attempt at humor nothing more,” Mr Beattie tweeted on Sunday.
“In no way would I intentionally offend anyone, but clearly I did so it’s only fair that I apologize for doing so.
“We can all make mistakes, my choice of joke was a mistake.”
Mr Poots’ party colleague and deputy DUP leader Paula Bradley condemned the tweet.
“That’s an appalling comment to make about anyone,” she said.
“Seeking to score a political point against an adversary in this way does not suit a leader. The fact that the comments are about a woman who isn’t even in public life is another indication of Doug Beattie’s default setting.
“It was an offense to all women, at a time when parties are struggling to end attacks on women, especially on social media. It’s no laughing matter.
“He rightly deleted the comment but his attempt at an apology is weak and just a reaction.
“Had he truly been remorseful and understood the offense he caused Ms Poots, her children, Edwin and the wider family, he would have apologized directly to them.”
Alliance party leader Naomi Long also criticized the remarks.
“Really shocked at how casually misogynistic this was,” she tweeted.
“That would have made many a 1970s comic blush.”