Jeremy Clarkson’s Meghan column receives record number of complaints
Jeremy Clarkson’s controversial newspaper column about Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex has received a record number of complaints, the press watchdog Ipso has said.
The former Top Gear presenter, 62, said he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt” after comments he made about how he hated the Duchess of Sussex prompted a furious backlash.
In the article, published by the Sun, Clarkson wrote he had been “dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her”. He also said, “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.
In a tweet on Monday, Clarkson wrote: “Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it... I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people.”
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) on Tuesday revealed that it had received more than 17,500 complaints about the piece, the most it has ever received for an article.
“We will follow our usual processes to examine the complaints we have received. This will take longer than usual because of the volume of complaints,” an Ipso spokesperson told the PA news agency, adding that the number of complaints would be subject to change.
The number also surpassed the total number of complaints the media regulator received in 2021, which was 14,355.
The Sun has now removed the article from its website, posting: “In light of Jeremy Clarkson’s tweet, he has asked us to take last week’s column down.”
It came as more than 60 MPs from across the political spectrum wrote to the editor of The Sun to condemn the article “in the strongest terms”.
The group said the television presenter’s “hateful” article had contributed to an “unacceptable climate of hatred and violence”.
In a letter addressed to The Sun’s editor Victoria Newton, the group said: “We are horrified at the recent article by Jeremy Clarkson in your publication. As parliamentarians of every persuasion, we condemn in the strongest terms the violent misogynistic language against the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
“This sort of language has no place in our country, and it is unacceptable that it was allowed to be published in a mainstream newspaper. Ms Markle has faced multiple credible threats to her life, requiring the intervention of the Metropolitan Police.
“Hateful articles like the one written by Mr Clarkson do not exist in a vacuum, and directly contribute to this unacceptable climate of hatred and violence.”
The television presenter used his weekend column to describe his dream of seeing the Duchess of Sussex publicly humiliated for using her husband Prince Harry as a “glove puppet” and leading impressionable youngsters to believe that the King and Prince are “bullies who are waited on hand and foot by slaves, eunuchs and spin doctors”.
Clarkson referred to the Duke of Sussex as “a slightly dim but fun-loving chin” led astray by Meghan, and posited that the Duchess used “vivid bedroom promises” to transform her husband into a “warrior of woke”.
“I hate her,” Clarkson wrote. “Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”
He was widely condemned for the column, with hundreds of comments on social media objecting to what he wrote.
“I’ve been a fan of Jeremy Clarkson for years but after his genuinely vile comments about Meghan in The Sun, I’m done. No more Clarkson Prime Video content for me,” one reader tweeted.
Public figures including mathematician Carol Vorderman also railed against Clarkson, 62, and disputed his assertion that “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.
Vorderman, 61, said: “Not on any level, in any circumstance, is it OK to write this stuff about any woman and absolutely no to ‘everyone who’s my age thinks the same’.
“Listen to the noise Jeremy. The crowds are chanting ‘shame on you’.”