Jeremy Clarkson’s column in the Sun newspaper, in which he said he ‘hated’ the Duchess of Sussex, has become the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s most criticized article, the regulator has said.
Ipso said the article, which was removed from The Sun’s website on Monday at Clarkson’s request, had received more than 17,500 complaints as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.
“We will follow our usual processes to review the complaints we have received. It will take longer than usual due to the volume of complaints,” an Ipso spokesperson told news agency PA Media, adding that the number of complaints is subject to change.
The number exceeded the total number of complaints the media regulator received in 2021, 14,355.
More than 60 MPs from all parties have written to The Sun’s editor, Victoria Newton, demanding an apology and “action taken” against Clarkson for the column where he said Meghan should parade through the streets naked.
In their letter, they said Meghan had received credible threats to her life and that columns such as Clarkson’s contributed to an “unacceptable climate of hatred and violence”.
The letter, co-ordinated by Conservative Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, Caroline Nokes, was signed by Tory, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and SNP MPs, including Conservative Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Harriett Baldwin, Harriet Harman of Labour. and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party.
In a post Friday following Prince Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary, Clarkson wrote that he hated Meghan “on a cellular level” over serial killer Rose West.
He said he “dreamed of the day when she would be forced to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain as the crowds chanted ‘Shame!’ and throw pieces of excrement at him”.
The Sun has since pulled the column at Clarkson’s request, but a statement from him promising to be more careful in future has been criticized for not including an apology.
In their letter, Nokes and the other MPs tell Newton that they “condemn in the strongest possible terms violent misogynistic language… This kind of language has no place in our country and it is unacceptable that it has been authorized to be published in a mainstream newspaper”.
They add: “We can no longer let this type of behavior go unchecked. We welcome the Sun’s retraction of the article and now demand that action be taken against Mr Clarkson and an unqualified apology to Ms Markle immediately.
Other signatories to the letter included Labour’s Stella Creasy, Dawn Butler and Dan Jarvis, as well as former Tory cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom and Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper.
After widespread outcry over the weekend, Clarkson released a statement on Monday, saying, “Oh my God. I rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made an awkward reference to a scene from Game of Thrones and it went wrong with a lot of people. I am horrified to have done so much harm and will be more careful in the future.
But Nokes said it was ‘no apology’ and tweeting the letter read: ‘I welcome Jeremy Clarkson’s acknowledgment that he has caused harm… but an editorial process allowed his column to be printed without dispute.”
Critics of the article included Clarkson’s daughter Emily, who said: “I want to make it very clear that I take exception to everything my dad has written about Meghan Markle.”
It’s unclear which of Ipso’s rules might have been broken due to its general guidelines for comments. Regulator Chairman Edward Faulks has canceled plans to attend a private dinner with Rupert Murdoch on Monday evening.