Women should not be told to shut up, Forbes says amid Tennant comments row

The Deputy First Minister of Scotland has said she does not “like women being told to shut up” amid the ongoing row between equalities minister Kemi Badenoch and actor David Tennant.

Speaking on LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr on Wednesday, Kate Forbes spoke about the feud between Tennant and Ms Badenoch.

During an acceptance speech at the British LGBT Awards, Mr Tennant said “until we wake up and Kemi Badenoch doesn’t exist any more – I don’t wish ill of her, I just wish her to shut up – whilst we do live in this world, I am honoured to receive this [award].”

On X, Ms Badenoch responded by saying: “I will not shut up. I will not be silenced by men who prioritise applause from Stonewall over the safety of women and girls.

David Tennant smiles at the camera while on the red carpet at a showbiz event
David Tennant has been criticised for his remarks about Kemi Badenoch (Ian West/PA)

“A rich, lefty, white male celebrity so blinded by ideology he can’t see the optics of attacking the only black woman in government by calling publicly for my existence to end.”

Deputy First Minister Ms Forbes said that while she would not take a side on the issue, she does not like women being told to “shut up”.

She said: “I am not going to take sides on this, because I speak for myself.

“There’s plenty that Kemi Badenoch says that I would call out. David Tennant is not a politician. He’s not a candidate in this election.

“I speak for myself, but I do think that female politicians, in particular, should be able to speak openly.

“They should be scrutinised for what they say but have a right to participate in the debate, and so therefore should not be shut up.”

Kemi Badenoch looks to her left while in a TV studio with a Union flag design in the background
Kemi Badenoch hit back at David Tennant for his remarks (Peter Nicholls/PA)

She added: “I don’t take sides, but I don’t like women being told to shut up.

“I think that on this issue, of all issues, the more unpleasant and toxic the debate, the more that marginalised and vulnerable groups get hurt.

“There has to be a way forward here. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there has to be a way forward that gives confidence to women and which affords dignity and respect to one of the most marginalised groups.

“I think the way that we discuss those matters for those groups.”