MSP tells LBC her paedophile tweets were 'misrepresented' after receiving death threats

4 January 2022, 14:15

Police are investigating the alleged death threats made against Karen Adam.
Police are investigating the alleged death threats made against Karen Adam. Picture: Alamy
Gina Davidson

By Gina Davidson

Police are investigating alleged death threats made against an SNP MSP after she tweeted that paedophiles were "people" and not "bogey men under the bed".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Karen Adam, who also revealed she is a survivor of child sexual assault, said she had received messages telling her to kill herself, and that she should be "put through a wood chipper" after what she called a deliberate mis-interpretation of her views.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, elected to Holyrood for the first time last year, faced a backlash after she tweeted in the wake of the verdict on Ghislaine Maxwell.

She said "paedophiles and predators are people" not "Mac wearing flashers in the street" but "family, friends and colleagues".

She added: "It's uncomfortable to humanise them because we then have to face the horrors in plain sight. 

"Headlines read 'daughter' not 'paedophile' to provoke something in us. Not for good purpose. But yes a daughter did do that… horrifying isn’t it? Face it and warn our kids."

The post was interpreted by some, including Alba Party general secretary Chris McEleny, a former SNP councillor, as an attempt to humanise child abusers - which Ms Adam has firmly rejected.

Read more: Covid infections ‘plateau’ in London but rise elsewhere amid back-to-work chaos

Read more: Half a million sign petition for Tony Blair to be stripped of knighthood

Speaking to LBC, she said: "The point of my tweet was that we really need to be aware, and teach our children that, instead of the stranger danger that I was brought up with back in the 80s, it was really the people I knew around me who could perhaps be more dangerous.

"It’s really important for children to grow up knowing that these people look like any one - any one around us, and unfortunately more often than not they are often known to the child."

As a result of misinterpretation, she said she had "had death threats, people telling me to kill myself, saying that they’re going to put me in a wood chipper all because they didn’t read the full tweet and they are believing misrepresentations of it.

"The impact has been people taking things out of context and misrepresenting the words that I used which does no good in raising awareness and warning our children and parents."

After Ms Adam's initial tweet, Mr McEleny posted: "If you didn't think the SNP had been captured by ideological zealots that care not about independence, here's one of their newly elected MSPs, with a new line of 'paedophiles and predators are people'."

Read more: Boris Johnson's govt 'unworthy of your trust' says Sir Keir in major speech

The Alba Party also released a statement from Mr McEleny, where he appeared to backtrack on his initial outrage which sparked a backlash against the MSP.

"I'm hopeful that this SNP MSP has just been very clumsy at making a broader point about the importance of educating children on risks to keep them safe.

"However, to attempt to humanise the most vile behaviour in society is an appalling error in judgement.

"Ms Adam says that paedophiles are not "monsters", I'm sure almost everyone in Scotland will agree that's exactly what they are."

As a result of the death threats, Ms Adam hinted she could pursue legal action.

"Can't sleep, not eaten. I'm worried for mine and my families safety after I was just told my personal details are now being shared.

"Grateful for litigation advice. I'm off for a wee bit."

Police Scotland said it has received reports of threats made against Ms Adam, and was currently investigating.

A spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a complaint has been made regarding online threats and police inquiries are ongoing."