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Openly-gay Nottinghamshire county councillor Jason Zadrozny demands apology from senior member Keith Girling after 'homophobic slur'

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An openly-gay county councillor demanded an apology from a senior elected member after taking strong offence to what he described as an 'homophobic slur'.

During a discussion on the ten-year Nottinghamshire Plan at a full county council meeting today, councillor Keith Girling rose to commend the plan and in doing so described a previous speaker's comments as 'negative Nancy'.

Jason Zadrozny, an independent county councillor who described himself as openly gay, said he was outraged and disgusted by the comment from Mr Girling.

Mr Girling apologised for the 'homophobic slur'.
Mr Girling apologised for the 'homophobic slur'.

Keith Girling said: "Chairman, I like this plan. One of the reasons is because the priorities are of the people of Nottinghamshire.

"It sets out clear objectives and show where we are going to be accountable for delivering them.

"That's why it has been written in the way it has, so we can benchmark and follow how we progress. It's also very ambitious.

County councillor Keith Girling made the remark at today's full meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council.
County councillor Keith Girling made the remark at today's full meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council.

"Some of the comments here, I think negative Nancy is the way I'd describe it — so, I like this plan."

An audible backlash could be heard from the chamber after the comment.

Mr Girling added: "What's wrong with saying negative Nancy? Oh, put your complaint in later I'm sure the monitoring officer will like it."

The meeting chairman Mike Quigley called for order due to the discontent from councillors in the background.

A clearly bewildered Mr Girling can then be heard asking: "Negative Nancy homophobic? Okay."

Mr Quigley added he thought Nancy was a girl's name.

Jason Zadrozny was next on the list of speakers.

County councillor Jason Zadrozny.
County councillor Jason Zadrozny.

"Do I dare follow that as one of the official Nancies in the room?," asked Mr Zadrozny.

"We'll park that councillor Girling and I'll deal with that with the monitoring officer actually — it is, it's a very, very offensive derogatory term and I'll give you this opportunity through the chairman for you to withdraw that.

"I'm assuming you choose not to. I'll suggest you stop repeating it.

"Perhaps your ignorance on the issue is really part of the overt problem but your flagrant disregard for standards in terms of misogyny — I mean you dare wear a white ribbon today and then throw comments around like that in this chamber that are homophobic and outrageous."

Mr Quigley asked Mr Zadrozny to use his time to speak about the plan.

"If you have a complaint to make about a fellow councillor I suggest you make it to the monitoring officer," he said.

Mr Zadrozny replied: "I will chairman but I think it's a shame you bang the gavel at me rather than the member who speaks with such disrespect about other members.

"Do you know what? I'm absolutely disgusted — I'm absolutely disgusted.

"I mean, last week we had the Conservatives saying about how councillors shouldn't be playing in big boy politics and now we have the deputy leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council — a committee chairman here — calling members Nancies in this chamber and you bang the gavel at me.

"It's an absolute outrage. It's a homophobic slur and as an openly-gay councillor I take enormous offence at it and I take even more offence that you didn't stop him and bang the gavel at me.

"It's an outright offensive, disgusting remark and I ask the member to take it back and you bang the gavel at me."

Mr Quigley thanked Mr Zadrozny for his remarks and further asked him to speak about the plan.

Mr Girling: "I've just had the dictionary definition of it sent to me by councillor Taylor. I used the term negative Nancy, it's actually on Facebook and it's a jokey thing.

"It's about people being negative and the person is called Nancy on it. However, in terms of this it is used as a defamatory term and I apologise.

"It's not the intent I gave so I do apologise and if I've given any offence I did not mean it and would not use the word Nancy of anybody who was of a different sexual orientation to me — it's not in my vocabulary."

Mr Zadrozny said he accepted the apology and would draw a line under the matter, adding: "I thank councillor Girling for rising so quickly to retract his statement."

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