Probe launched into Clarkson’s vile Meghan column

Britain's press watchdog says it received more than 25,000 complaints about Clarkson's column about the duchess.

Britain's press watchdog says it received more than 25,000 complaints about Clarkson's column about the duchess. Photo: Getty

Britain’s media watchdog has launched a formal investigation into TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s visceral column about Meghan Markle.

The Independent Press Standards Organization confirmed this week it had started an investigation into the December article in The Sun newspaper, which was headlined “One day, Harold the glove puppet will tell the truth about A Woman Talking B—–ks”.

“We are taking forward complaints from two groups, The Fawcett Society and The Wilde Foundation, who said they were affected by breaches of Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) in the article,” IPSO said in a statement on Thursday.

The Fawcett Society is British charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights. The Wilde Foundation provides specialist training to raise awareness of domestic abuse and its impact on women and girls.

The column was also published online but later removed after an outcry.

It it, the Top Gear host wrote of the Duchess of Sussex: “I hate her. Not like I hate [Scottish First Minister] Nicola Sturgeon or [serial killer] Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”

“At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and 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.

“Everyone who’s my age thinks the same way,” he added.

“But what makes me despair is that younger people, especially girls, think she’s pretty cool.

“They think she was a prisoner of Buckingham Palace, forced to talk about nothing but embroidery and kittens.”

The column sparked more than 25,000 complaints to the IPSO. By comparison, the BBC reports that the total number of complaints received by the regulator in 2021 was 14,355.

Among those who objected was Clarkson’s own daughter, Emily. In a social media post, Ms Clarkson wrote that she was “against everything that my dad wrote”.

“My views are and have always been clear when it comes to misogyny, bullying and the treatment of women by the media,” she said, in a statement shared on her Instagram story.

“I want to make it very clear that I stand against everything that my dad wrote about Meghan Markle and I remain standing in support of those that are targeted with online hatred.”

Ms Sturgeon and London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined the public condemnation. Even British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak weighed in on the debate, saying “I think for everyone in public life, language matters”.

Clarkson gained worldwide fame as presenter of motoring show Top Gear. In 2015, the BBC dropped him for an “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” on a colleague.

Clarkson apologised a day after the column was published, saying he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt”.

“Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people,” he tweeted.

“I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”

He followed up his first apology with a second in January.

“I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head,” he wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post.

“This is me putting my hands up. It’s a mea culpa with bells on.”

Since the uproar over the column about the duchess, Amazon Prime has also reportedly decided to part ways with Clarkson. It has said it won’t go ahead with any more episodes of two of his shows – The Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm – beyond those already commissioned.

IPSO did not say how long its investigation would take. It will publish the results once concluded.

-with agencies

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