Joan McInnes, chief executive of Scottish Cancer Support (SCS), shared an Islamaphobic post on Facebook that refers to a Muslim man as wearing “rags for clothes” and “towels for hats” with a wife “smelling worse than his donkey”.
McInnes founded the charity, which has raised up to £390,000 a year, claiming to provide “support services that aim to alleviate hardship for cancer sufferers throughout Scotland”.
The charity chief, from Newmilns in Ayrshire, raises money on her personal Facebook account which contains a number of offensive posts including one referring to a “retard” and “crayon-eating motherf*****” who licks windows.
The racist post she shared talks of why “Muslim terrorists are quick to commit suicide”.
It goes on to list “evidence”, including not eating pork, “You can’t wash off the smell of donkeys” and “you cook over burning camel s***”.
But now respected charity Ayrshire Cancer Support (ACS), which has an agreement with the NHS to provide professional cancer health services, has raised concerns patients will confuse it with SCS and its reputation will suffer.
Sandra McCall, CEO of ACS, said: “We are in no way connected or associated with SCS.
“As Ayrshire’s leading cancer support charity, we are very concerned that any of our patients or supporters would confuse the two. We work hard to uphold our reputation within the community and the similarity in names could be confusing for people who desperately need to access our help.’
ACS, which has run for four decades, has highlighted the conduct of McInnes, questioning whether she is a “fit and proper person” to be running a charity.
ACS raised concerns with Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) over claims Scottish Cancer Support has misleading publicity, including illustrating an offer of patient transport with an image of a minibus with disabled access which they don’t have.
ACS undertakes 1200 patient transport journeys a month.
OSCR is also investigating allegations that SCS advertises services in fundraising publicity that it doesn’t provide, including counselling services and a drop-in centre which are actually provided by ACS.
In a complaint to OSCR, ACS said there was “significant reputational risk to our charity by the nature of SCS’s promotional activities and the manner in which the CEO conducts herself”.
McInnes said she does not remember posting the racist and offensive posts on Facebook.
Last night, in a statement, she added: “Scottish Cancer Support offers an inclusive service which has been used by hundreds of people across Scotland affected by cancer.
“Our fundraising efforts allow us to keep the costs of our short breaks and respite holidays significantly subsidised, while allowing us to offer this service for free to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
She added that she “unreservedly apologises for some historical social media posts shared on her account.
“These in no way represent the views of Scottish Cancer Support”.
OSCR said: “Concerns have been raised about the charity and are currently being handled in line with our inquiry policy.
“In line with the policy, we cannot comment any further as this may prejudice our inquiry work.”