A LOCAL council is facing criticism for failing to check whether the social media content of an influencer was appropriate before welcoming him into a school.

Richard Dickson, an entrepreneur and influencer on TikTok, promotes himself as one of Scotland’s youngest millionaires and attended a careers fair at Castlehead High School in Paisley back in March.

However, an investigation by The National found that Dickson has advocated for the legalisation of “mutual combat” in Scotland, hurled ableist slurs at fellow Scottish TikTok influencers, and regularly “likes” the content of controversial influencer Andrew Tate.

Despite previously offering assurances to councillors that the social media accounts of prospective school visitors would be checked before they were permitted on school grounds, Renfrewshire Council said management at the school were “unaware of his social media postings”.

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'Mutual combat' and ableist slurs

Dickson’s TikTok account includes a video which features him calling for Scotland to recognise the legal defence of “mutual combat”, which allows two consenting individuals to legally engage in a physical fight without police interference.

The practice is currently legal in two US states but has been criticised as a factor holding back prosecutions against right-wing extremists.

“Scottish Parliament, fuck all this net zero pish,” he told his followers. “What we want is the rights to mutual combat”.

A report published in December from the Sunday Mail found that teachers and staff in Scotland’s schools faced more than 22,000 violent attacks in 2021/22.

Dickson was also found to have called fellow Scottish TikTok user Lee Sutherland a “skint fake lawyer with autism” and boast about the age gap between himself and his girlfriend.

A viewer commented beneath one of Dickson’s videos: “26 and your birds JUST turned 20 hahahahaha”

Dickson responded: “Yes I am a legend”. Another video shows him brandishing a parking ticket and dismissing it as a “business expense”.

“This is a fucking VIP parking pass for the day,” he said.

Andrew Tate posts

On Dickson’s Twitter account he can regularly be seen liking content from Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan, both of whom were recently charged with rape and human trafficking offences in Romania.

“You don’t get married for fun, or freedom,” reads one such Andrew Tate tweet liked by Dickson.

“You get married to BELONG and DEDICATE yourself to a man.”

Other tweets liked by Dickson include a meme describing the homophobically motivated murder of pop singer Sam Smith, a Jordan Peterson tweet which calls on people to boycott a make-up company for having a transgender spokesperson, a tweet which says that “alpha males” did not get the Covid-19 vaccine, and another tweet which blames “toxic feminists” for women not receiving blame when they are sexually assaulted while drunk.

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What the council says

A council spokesperson said: “Richard Dickson was one of many people from a wide range of businesses and industries who attended a careers day for S2 and 3 pupils at  Castlehead High in March of this year.  

“He did not give a presentation or speech to pupils, but did have a table at the event, from which he spoke to small groups of pupils about entrepreneurship.

“School staff were present throughout to supervise the event and to accompany each group of pupils.

“Management at the school were unaware of his social media postings.”

Schools in Scotland have previously expressed concern about the popularity of Andrew Tate content amongst young men.

Wick High School went as far as to issue guidance to parents after concerns were raised about young boys at the school mimicking his misogynistic content.

Concerns raised

In 2020, Renfrewshire Council apologised after parents discovered the social media content of a drag queen who was invited to Glencoats Primary in Paisley as part of LGBT history month.

The decision to invite FlowJob – who was introduced to the children as Flow – was criticised by then SNP councillor and now Alba General Secretary Chris McEleny, who said that individuals who “glamourise sexualised behaviour” should not be invited into schools.

According to Kenny MacLaren, SNP councillor for Paisley Northwest, assurances were made by council bosses that more thorough checks of visitors would be made in the future.

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He told The National: “After this happened I, along with my colleague Cllr Will Mylet, met with the council’s Education Director Steven Quinn to raise our concerns and to find out how this visit happened. 

“We were assured at that time that this was an error due to the new head teacher of Glencoats inviting the drag queen without checking council procedures or checking with her superiors within the education department. 

“We were also given a personal assurance by Mr Quinn that this would never happen again and that any visitor to a school in Renfrewshire would be thoroughly checked out including their social media.  

“This has clearly not happened in the case of Mr Dickson and Castlehead High School. 

“Yet again it seems that senior officers in Renfrewshire Council’s Education Department are misleading councillors and making assurances that they fail to keep. 

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“I will be contacting both Mr Quinn as well as the Education Convener Cllr Emma Rodden, and the council’s Chief Executive to demand action on the fake assurances of Mr Quinn and demand that some action is taken so that this situation does not happen again.”

After writing to Head of Education at Renfrewshire Council, Tracy McGillivray, MacLaren was told that guidance was in place to ensure “appropriate checks” were made of visitors before they were invited into a school.

However, in the case of Dickson it was not followed.

McGillivray said in her response to MacLaren: “There is clear guidance in place to support head teachers when there is a proposed plan to invite visitors into any school establishment. This was updated for head teachers in November 2020.

“Appendix 2 makes it very clear as to the role of the head teacher and school staff in ensuring appropriate checks are carried out, by them, prior to inviting visitors into schools.

“I regret that this did not prevent an invite being issued to Mr Dickson to visit Castlehead High School.”

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On his TikTok, Dickson has previously told children to request that teachers invite them into their schools and has hinted at other school visits having already occurred in Scotland.

Claiming to have made his first £1 million by the age of 25 through his own property investment firm, Dickson now runs the Young Entrepreneur Society Academy.

This £124 a month club gives subscribers access to video courses and mentorship which promise to equip them with the skills to start their own businesses and become wealthy at speed.

It appears similar to Andrew Tate's own "financial education platform" the Real World. 


Richard Dickson told The National that some of his social media activity was "regrettable". 

He said: “As a working class boy from Glasgow, I am immensely proud to have become successful in business.

"After leaving school and wondering what to do with my life, I found a niche which has provided me with a comfortable life.

"I am still a young man and some of my historic social media activity, whether tongue in cheek or my own brand of humour, is regrettable.

"I fully appreciate the responsibility I have as a public figure to set a good example and continue to learn all the time.

"I am keen to give back to society, particularly in Scotland and I have been privileged to be able to give talks to young people to inspire them and let them know that anything is possible with hard work and the right approach.

"I am committed to inspiring and supporting young entrepreneurs and business people in Scotland and beyond and will continue to work tirelessly to contribute positively to society.”