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Jeremy Clarkson’s Sun column about Meghan was sexist, press watchdog rules | UK News

A Jeremy Clarkson column about Prince Harry and Meghan in The Sun newspaper was sexist, a press watchdog has ruled.

The column – headlined “One day, Harold the glove puppet will tell the truth about A Woman Talking B*******” – contained a “pejorative and prejudicial reference” to the sex of the Duchess of Sussex, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) said.

Clarkson, 63, wrote in December last year: “I hate her. Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”

He told how he lies awake at night “dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her” – claiming “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.

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

The article, published on 16 December 2022, saw IPSO deluged by more than 25,000 complaints from the public – the highest number it has ever received.

It was a “serious breach” of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice – a set of rules newspaper and magazines who are members of IPSO have agreed to follow – the watchdog said on Friday.

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However, separate complaints that the article was inaccurate, harassed the Duchess and discriminated against her on the grounds of her race were not upheld.

IPSO chairman, Lord Faulks, said of the ruling: “We found that the imagery employed by the columnist in this article was humiliating and degrading toward the Duchess.”

 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle The Duchess of Sussex 
Prince Harry and Meghan. Pic: AP

The Sun “failed to meet the high editorial standards” expected by IPSO, he added.

Further explaining why the column was sexist, the IPSO complaints committee ruled: “Specifically: the writer’s claim that the Duchess exercised power via her sexual hold over her husband which, in the view of the Committee, was a reference to stereotypes about women using their sexuality to gain power.

“[It] also implied that it was the Duchess’ sexuality – rather than any other attribute or accomplishment – which was the source of her power.

“To argue that a woman is in a position of influence due to ‘vivid bedroom promises’, to compare the hatred of an individual to other women only, and to reference a fictional scene of public humiliation given to a sexually manipulative woman, read as a whole, amounted to a breach of Clause 12 (i).”

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The ruling added: “The Editors’ Code of Practice protects the right of commentators to challenge, to shock, be satirical and entertain, but it states that the press must avoid discriminatory references towards an individual.

“By holding publications to account, we promote the standards of journalism set out in the Editors’ Code of Practice.

“We will take action where these standards are not met, such as in this article which contained pejorative and prejudicial language in an article discussing a woman.”

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‘I’ve rather put my foot in it’

Clarkson issued a grovelling response at the time after his own daughter, Emily, was among thousands who condemned his comments.

He tweeted: “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.

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

The Sun also apologised after a huge backlash, saying it “regretted” publishing the column last December. It also removed it from its website and archives.

However, the Sussexes snubbed the apologies and suggested Clarkson has a track record of spreading “hate rhetoric”.

Now the tabloid has been ordered to inform its readers of the findings by publishing a summary written by IPSO on the same page where the column usually appears.

It must also be flagged on the front page of The Sun and on the homepage of its website.

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IPSO investigated two specific complaints made by the charity The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights, and the WILDE Foundation, a platform created to help women, girls, and victims and survivors of abuse.

Both organisations said they were affected by breaches of the code.

In a statement, The Sun said: “After Jeremy Clarkson’s column was published in December, both The Sun and Jeremy Clarkson apologised. We said we regretted publishing the article and removed it from our website.

“The Sun accepts that with free expression comes responsibility.

“Half of The Sun’s readers are women and we have a very long and proud history of campaigning for women, which has changed the lives of many.

“The Sun is committed to its work campaigning to strengthen legislation on domestic abuse, helping to provide beds in refuges and empowering survivors of abuse to seek help. Our most recent campaign, Baby Bank on Us, is raising money to help women struggling with the alarming costs of living and a newborn baby.

“Ipso has ruled that The Sun published a column about the Duchess of Sussex which contained a pejorative and prejudicial reference to the duchess’s sex. The committee did not uphold separate elements of the complaint that the article was inaccurate, harassed the Duchess of Sussex, and included discriminatory references to her on the ground of race.

“The Sun is today publishing the summary of Ipso’s findings.”

The ruling comes as Prince Harry takes on the British press in a series of court battles.

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The Duke appeared in court weeks after he and the Duchess said they were involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase in New York involving paparazzi.

The Sun apologises over Jeremy Clarkson’s column about Meghan | UK News

The Sun newspaper has said it regrets publishing a column by Jeremy Clarkson about the Duchess of Sussex.

His column, which was published on Sunday, said he was “dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her”.

The remarks sparked a huge backlash, with Clarkson’s daughter Emily, as well as many others, speaking out against him.

The column became the most complained about ever, with the Independent Press Standards Organisation receiving more than 20,800 complaints as of 5pm on Tuesday.

The article has since been removed from The Sun’s website at Clarkson‘s request.

Jeremy Clarkson’s daughter speaks out against Meghan Markle rant. Pic: Instagram
Jeremy Clarkson’s daughter speaks out against Meghan Markle rant. Pic: Instagram

The full apology

The newspaper said in a statement: “In last Saturday’s Sun, Jeremy Clarkson wrote a comment article about the Duchess of Sussex.

“It provoked a strong response and led to a large number of complaints to IPSO, the independent press regulator.

“In a tweet earlier this week, Jeremy said he had made a ‘clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones’, which had ‘gone down badly with a great many people’ and he was ‘horrified to have caused so much hurt’.

“He also said he will be more careful in future.

“Columnists’ opinions are their own, but as a publisher, we realise that with free expression comes responsibility.

“We at The Sun regret the publication of this article and we are sincerely sorry.

“The article has been removed from our website and archives.

“The Sun has a proud history of campaigning, from Help for Heroes to Jabs Army and Who Cares Wins, and over 50 years of working in partnership with charities, our campaigns have helped change Britain for the better.

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“Working with our readers, The Sun has helped to bring about new legislation on domestic abuse, provided beds in refuges, closed harmful loopholes in the law and empowered survivors of abuse to come forward and seek help.

“We will continue to campaign for good causes on behalf of our readers in 2023.”

Talking about tweet - "Meghan needs to die"
Screen Grabs taken from Harry and Meghan  Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan
Clarkson’s column came hot on the heels of a new documentary from the couple. Pic: Netflix

Meghan and Harry’s documentary

The column, in which Clarkson said he “hated” Meghan, came on the back of the couple’s highly anticipated Netflix documentary series.

The Sussexes opened up about their experiences in the “institution” and the difficulties they faced due to negative media coverage.

Clarkson then used his column to describe his frustration at the duchess.

More than 60 MPs wrote to the editor of the newspaper condemning the piece “in the strongest terms”.

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The letter put forward by Conservative MP Caroline Nokes demanded that the publication take action against Clarkson.

It said the former Top Gear presenter’s “hateful” article about Meghan Markle had contributed to an “unacceptable climate of hatred and violence”.

A senior ITV executive said his comments were “awful” but Clarkson will continue as host of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? “at the moment“.