This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

Leonie Rae Gasson’s Rein is probably not the sort of thing I'd go to see.

But like Radio 1, Saga Cruises, and grouse shooting, it's not really meant for me.

The “erotic journey through a distinctly Scottish landscape” which aimed to “push the boundaries of what it means to create and show dyke sex on screen” was being made for a particular audience.

A demographic you could argue that are underserved. A group who don't often see work created for them.

It's exactly the sort of audience Creative Scotland should be funding performances for.

Should they be putting taxpayer’s cash into something this sexual? Something this explicit?

I’m not sure, but actually, I'd argue that's no longer the question because they did.

And then they said they’d been misled.

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They said this when a casting call made clear that “any sex that features will not be simulated but performed by cast members.”

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

It was a line they stuck to yesterday even after hundreds of emails and documents and papers released through Freedom of Information appeared to contradict it.

On the application form sent to the funding body in March 2023, Ms Rae Gasson 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”.

I can't claim to be an expert here, but I do have a rudimentary understanding of the basics and I cannot understand how Creative Scotland can argue that a sex scene with genital to genital touching is not real sex.

But they are. Even yesterday they were insisting that that it was quite common in films and TV and the like for there to be genital to genital touching and for that to be performance and not sex.

The Herald:
As I said, I'm not an expert, so I asked someone who is, an intimacy coordinator working in the UK. It is her job to work with performers and production staff to make sex scenes. 

Given the smallness of the industry and sector, they asked to be quoted anonymously.

Can you have a sex scene with genital to genital touching that is not real sex? I asked. “No,” they replied.

What about if the professionals involved who were actually touching genitals, were pretending to be intimate, performing, would that still be real sex?

“Yes,” she replied. “Our entire job is predicated on putting barriers between people. We pad them up basically to make sure exactly that doesn't happen.”

Let's be clear Iain Munro either misled MSPs or he's ignorant about how the industry works.

If that wasn't enough to make his position untenable, then surely it's the fact that he accused Leonie Rae Gasson of lying.

You may not like her work or what she was trying to achieve but the emails and papers released to The Herald and other media organisations showed that she was never untruthful. She never tried to hide what Rein was or what it involved.

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And yet our national arts body, the quango that should have the back of our creatives, threw her under the bus.

They very publicly accused her of lying, of being sleekit.

Mr Munro didn’t only mislead MSPs, but he misled his board too.

“Without Creative Scotland’s knowledge or input, a call-out for performers for the work published by the project revealed that ‘non-simulated’ (i.e. real) sex acts was part of the project,” he told them on 21 March.

Not only did the application make clear that wasn’t the case, but Creative Scotland also hosted that call out on their website in February.

In that note to the board, Mr Munro also described the fallout from Rein as a “high-profile and damaging event”.

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He told them: “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.”

He’s right. What makes this worse, is that it’s self-inflicted. What a shambles.