Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has been forced to delete a tweet in which he claimed a Cornish theatre had benefitted from Government support - after the open-air theatre replied to say it was simply “not true”.
It follows a tweet from Jill Biden, the first lady, on Friday where she praised a “beautiful and powerful program for G7 spouses” at the Minack Theatre, which is located in Porthcurno and overlooks the sea.
Quoting the tweet, Mr Dowden wrote that he was “delighted” that Dr Biden - along with the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson - were able to spend time at the theatre.
He added: “This unique venue was one of more than 650 theatres helped through Covid with support from the £2bn Culture Recovery Fund, ensuring that it can entertain visitors for years to come.”
@minacktheatre @OliverDowden @FLOTUS @carrielbjohnson The deleted tweet: https://t.co/gJ6FGoq38h— Andrew Linnie (@Andrew Linnie) 1623537672
Except, it wasn’t, and the Minack Theatre soon responded to correct the record.
“Sorry @OliverDowden, but this is not true. We did not benefit from any CRF [Culture Recovery Fund] money as we were not eligible to apply.
“It turned out having a good level of cash reserves meant we had to fend for ourselves and utilise our own reserves,” they replied.
@OliverDowden @FLOTUS @carrielbjohnson Sorry @OliverDowden, but this is not true. We did not benefit from any CRF m… https://t.co/gFedQrrbXA— Minack (@Minack) 1623533247
The secretary’s tweet has since been heavily criticised on Twitter, with users describing the incident as “embarrassing”:
@minacktheatre @OliverDowden @FLOTUS @carrielbjohnson Well this, in a tweet, sums it up. Finger not on the pulse of… https://t.co/2ELNdAQr7v— Ryan Woods (@Ryan Woods) 1623533679
@minacktheatre @OliverDowden @FLOTUS @carrielbjohnson Sums up this government and half arsed approach towards theat… https://t.co/lQwZCpnBqZ— Amanda (Mandy) Dearne (@Amanda (Mandy) Dearne) 1623536729
@minacktheatre @OliverDowden @FLOTUS @carrielbjohnson How embarrassing 😳— PerfectlyMe (@PerfectlyMe) 1623534439
@minacktheatre @OliverDowden @FLOTUS @carrielbjohnson Mr Dowden, you deleted the tweet, but, as you might know, not… https://t.co/eiPOpLU2LZ— Raffaella ❄️ (@Raffaella ❄️) 1623570616
@minacktheatre @OliverDowden @FLOTUS @carrielbjohnson What a surprise that Dowden is happy to take credit for somet… https://t.co/fHcjotUPst— Andy Holton 💙 (@Andy Holton 💙) 1623536971
Instead of apologising for getting it wrong, @OliverDowden has deleted his tweet claiming that the Minack Theatre i… https://t.co/3lzPfnnJtF— Rufus Wright (@Rufus Wright) 1623570729
Hey @OliverDowden why don’t you actually talk to people and get your facts straight. So disappointing. https://t.co/Hu2VtRboM3— MICHAEL JIBSON (@MICHAEL JIBSON) 1623536170
Although the tweet in question has been deleted, Mr Dowden is yet to issue an apology for the false claim.
A spokesperson from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told indy100: “Over 650 theatres have benefitted from over £250m of support through our Culture Recovery Fund to date. A tweet was briefly issued in error that the Minack was one of them and we have now spoken directly to the theatre who have accepted our apology.”