Scotland’s Culture minister has demanded an urgent meeting with Creative Scotland’s Chief Executive after he was accused of misleading MSPs over the sexual content of a controversial show.

Iain Munro, the arts funding body boss, had long insisted that they did not know that Rein by Leonie Rae Gasson would include non-simulated sex.

However, documents released to The Herald under Freedom of Information show that the successful application for a grant made explicitly clear that there would be “work on a sex scene with genital contact" involving three members of the cast.

READ MORE: Rein application mentioned 'sex scene with genital contact'

The project was awarded £23,219 in lottery funding through Creative Scotland in August 2022 for research and development and then another £84,555 through the agency’s Open Funding round in January of this year.

The work, which aimed to show an "erotic journey through a distinctly Scottish landscape,” proved controversial after a casting call made clear that "any sex that features will not be simulated but performed by cast members.”

In a letter to Holyrood’s Culture Committee in March, Mr Munro claimed Ms Gasson's application had initially stated that the sexual performance in Rein would simulated.

He described the terminology in the calling notice as a “new and significant difference" which "took the project into unacceptable territory.”

He told the MSPs: “This represented a significant change to the approved project, moving it from ‘performance’ into actuality, and into a space that was, in Creative Scotland’s view, inappropriate for public funding.”

However, the open funding application from March 2023 made clear that in the show’s development phase the company would “work on a sex scene with genital contact with three of the cast, in addition to Intimacy Coordinator.”

It then goes on to say that co-ordinator will be someone “who has experience safeguarding in a sex work and pornography context so we can experiment with more explicit sexual content in the work.”

Ms Rae Gasson made this point to Mr Munro at a meeting between the two in April after the row. According to a minute of that summit, she said she was "confused by the idea that it wasn't clear."

The quango boss responded, "real sex was not our understanding."

However, other documents released to The Herald appear to back up Ms Rae Gasson.

They include an application for an initial Research and Development phase which said they would not at this point “be filming or performing any explicit sex acts” but that they “anticipate the final performance to do so.”

Other documents stated that, where necessary, there would be testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Creative Scotland was also aware that the show could prove controversial, with members of the company being put in contact with PR staff at the funding body as the "project deals with content and subject matter that could be perceived as challenging, or quickly judged to be risky if picked up by the press."

The casting call mentioning "non-simulated" sex was also uploaded to the Creative Scotland website in February and was, according to a released Teams message, "approved" by a member of the digital team.

The released messages also show there was some internal pushback against the decision to withdraw the funding.

One staff member posted on an internal chat: "btw I don't see why we shouldn't fund Rein. We're quite happy to fund a bit of the ultraviolence, but we're prudish about something everyone does? Very tiresome. Sex isn't shameful"

In another internal note shared with the board of Creative Scotland, Mr Munro describes the fallout from Rein as "an extremely rare but nonetheless high-profile and damaging event."

He adds: "For Creative Scotland, confidence in us has been undermined and questions will continue to be asked of our involvement in the project, the robustness of our funding and decision-making processes, what other projects of this nature may have been funded, and the controls in place to avoid this happening again.

"It also undermines the wider case for support of the arts which we have worked hard to advocate for."

READ MORE: Creative Scotland to claw back Rein funding

Mr Robertson said he was “deeply concerned about the detail that has emerged regarding the Rein project application.”

He added: “Based on this information that we’ve just seen today, I have a number of questions about how this project was awarded funding in the first place.

“I have requested an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive and Chair of Creative Scotland to understand how the current position has transpired and discuss how confidence in the organisation can be restored.”

Labour's culture spokesman, Neil Bibby said he would also be seeking an explanation from Creative Scotland.

“This project should never have been backed by public funds. I hope that Creative Scotland can explain this apparent inconsistency between what they suggested was in the original application and what we now know was in it.”

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Meghan Gallacher agreed. She said: “Creative Scotland have some serious explaining to do.

“It appears they have misled the public over this scandal, in an attempt to cover their appalling misjudgement in awarding funding to this project.”

A Creative Scotland spokeswoman told the PA: “We were always aware the project would be explicit and creatively challenging, but it was not clear until the project issued the call out for participants on its website, that the project was moving from performance to unsimulated sex.

“It was at this point that Creative Scotland felt that there had been a breach of contract, and this breach of contract was not disputed by the applicant.

“Creative work, across many art forms, can feature explicit depictions of sex. But there is a difference between that depiction and actual sex, which is not appropriate for public funding.”

Ms Rae Gasson and the team behind Rein declined to comment.