Jeremy Clarkson 'horrified' after thousands complain over his Meghan Markle column in The Sun

Jeremy Clarkson has stopped short of an apology - after a furious backlash to comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex - as Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda explains

Jeremy Clarkson has said he is "horrified to have caused so much hurt" after thousands of complaints were made to a newspaper regulator over a column he wrote about the Duchess of Sussex in The Sun.

The former Top Gear host wrote he "hated" Meghan "on a cellular level" in the article, published on Friday, leading to more than 6,000 complaints to The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), the regulator said on Monday.

The number is almost half the total number of complaints the media regulator received in 2021, an Ipso spokesman confirmed.

 "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," Clarkson tweeted.

Backlash over the article has come from high-profile figures including Nicola Sturgeon, Carol Vorderman and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

In the piece, Mr Clarkson said he dreamed Meghan being forced "to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant 'Shame!' and throw lumps of excrement at her," adding, "everyone who’s my age thinks the same way."

It follows the recent broadcast of Harry and Meghan’s explosive six-part Netflix documentary, in which the couple made allegations of mistreatment by the royal family.

A spokesperson for Ipso said the 6,000 complaints about Clarkson's article were received by midday on Monday, and that the number was subject to change.

He added the complaints were were being assessed in accordance with its standard procedure.

Ipso received a total of 14,355 complaints in 2021, the spokesman added.

The article follows the release of Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series, in which they made allegations of mistreatment by the royal family. Credit: Netflix

Speaking to broadcasters on Monday, Ms Sturgeon said Mr Clarkson’s comments about the duchess were "beyond the pale."

"I think what he said about Meghan Markle was deeply misogynist and just downright awful and horrible," she said.

"I have to say, taking a step back from it, my overwhelming emotion about guys like Jeremy Clarkson is pity.

"I mean, what is it that makes somebody so distorted by hate that they end up writing these things?

"I think that possibly gives an insight into Jeremy Clarkson and the kind of person he is."

Clarkson’s daughter, Emily Clarkson, said in an online post that she is "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 Instagram.

"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."

Unscripted is ITV News' arts and entertainment podcast, brought to you by ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar. In each episode, Nina speaks to a leading name from the world of arts and entertainment

Former Countdown host Vorderman said Clarkson’s comments were unacceptable "in any circumstance."

"NO Jeremy Clarkson. Not on any level, in any circumstance, is it ok to write this stuff about any woman & absolutely NO to 'everyone who’s my age thinks the same.'

"No no no. We absolutely do NOT think the same. Listen to the noise Jeremy. The crowds are chanting 'shame on YOU.'"

London Mayor Mr Khan said Clarkson’s remarks were "dangerous and inexcusable," writing: “As Jeremy Clarkson should well know – words have consequences.

"The words in his piece are no joke – they’re dangerous and inexcusable.

"We are in an epidemic of violence against women and girls and men with powerful voices must do better than this."

As well as Top Gear, Clarkson, 62, is known for his Amazon motoring show, The Grand Tour, which he presents alongside Richard Hammond and James May, as well as ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Amazon, ITV and The Sun have all been approached for comment.

Harry and Meghan’s Archewell foundation has also been approached for comment over the remarks.