After quoting from a speech in the film Trainspotting, a film lecturer at the University of Edinburgh has been cleared by police after being accused of a hate crime as a result of the quote.
After showing the film to a group of visiting American students, James Mooney was reported to the police for a post on his Instagram page, which was captioned: ‘Spent this morning telling a group of visiting American students that we don’t really hate the English, but that they are w***ers. Welcome to Scotland.’
Police have confirmed that officers were called in to investigate the post after a complaint but concluded that Mooney had not committed a crime.
The quote from the film is said by Ewan McGregor’s character, Mark Renton, and it reads: ‘Some hate the English. I don't. They're just w***ers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by w***ers.’
A University source said ‘'It was clearly meant in jest and no offence was intended or could reasonably have been taken. It is all totally ridiculous, a storm in a teacup if ever there was one.’
According to the Daily Mail, the post was later edited and the privacy settings on the account updated.
Mooney lectures in film and philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, and often does guest lecturing at Sweden's Jönköping University and Arcadia University in the US. He is both the founder and curator of the FILMOSOPHY season of philosophical film at Edinburgh Filmhouse.
Furthermore, Mooney was appointed access and outreach development director at the University’s centre for open learning in December 2017. The next month a part-time access program was launched as a 'commitment to widening participation.'
Mooney said at the time that 'As a former access student myself, I know first-hand the potentially life-changing benefits that university can bring, as well as the challenges of returning to study after a long gap. The Access Programme is all about creating opportunities for people who have always wanted to go to university, no matter what their background.'
His post is said to have been reviewed by senior staff at the university and deemed not to have breached their social media policy.
A Spokesman for Police Scotland confirmed that last month officers received a report of 'xenophobic comments made online’ in relation to Mooney’s post. The spokesman also said that ‘A full investigation was conducted and it was established that no crime had been committed. However, the matter was recorded as a hate incident. No further police action was required.’