A GREENOCK Kirk minister has hit out at a cruise company in a row over shamed music star R Kelly.

Rev Teri Peterson, minister of St John's Church in Gourock, was part of RevGalBlogPals, a group of female clergy on an eight day trip with Carnival Cruises.

In a statement, released by the Church of Scotland, Peterson said on the second night of the cruise a number of the women of colour in the group were in the nightclub dancing when the DJ began to play a song by R Kelly.

Despite women in the club asking him to stop, the response of the ship's entertainer was to “sing and dance along and mock them”.

Later that night when he saw the women again elsewhere on the ship “he proceeded to sing the song again and to mock them”.

Peterson said the response of the management on the ship was lacklustre and that when the women of colour complained they were threatened with having security called on them.

It was only when “the white women in our group also got involved” that Carnival took the “complaint more seriously, and had meetings with various people including the Guest Services Director, Entertainment Director, and Cruise Director”.

She added: "These meetings were not offered to the women of colour who initially complained about their treatment by the DJ, and the full complement of management staff was not involved until the third incident of harassment had taken place.

"RevGalBlogPals has sailed with Carnival on eight occasions, and will not do so again.”

R Kelly, best known for his hit song "I Believe I Can Fly," has for years denied accusations of abuse, and paedophilia.

In 2008, the singer was tried and acquitted on child pornography charges in Chicago.

But a recent documentary, featuring interviews with several women making on-camera allegations of sexual, mental and physical abuse, as well as interviews with some of his former managers and producers, has ignited a new backlash against the singer.

The Minister said her group wanted to see updated training protocols including anti-racist training for all crew members and staff, and “care taken about things such as timelines and adequate responses for when guests have complaints – especially regarding the use of 'calling security' as a mechanism to threaten and control people of colour.”

She also called for “corporate oversight of the music played on ships”.

Peterson said: "Gourock is a cruise port, and our experience on the ship tainted our experiences of the ports where we stopped.

"I don’t want anyone to have the experience our group members had, of being harassed by staff and dismissed by those meant to help, but I also don’t want people who come here to have their experiences of the west of Scotland marred by racist or sexist experiences on the ship that brought them here."

Vance Gulliksen from Carnival told The National: “We had a small group of guests who took issue with two songs that our DJ was playing in a nightclub well after midnight.

“While we only play radio versions of popular music that have been sanitized so that offensive language has been removed, we do not make a habit of banning music as we have a broad cross section of guests.

“Our shipboard team listened to the concerns of these guests and provided a goodwill gesture.

“We are proud of the many ways we’ve been recognized for our commitment to diversity and inclusion and every day we work to make sure our guests and crew feel welcome and part of the Carnival family. We’re sorry this group feels otherwise.”