The Sun newspaper has said it regrets the publication of a Jeremy Clarkson column about the Duchess of Sussex and is “sincerely sorry”. In a statement, the newspaper said: “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 paper added that the article had also been removed from as its archives and website.
It comes after the piece, in which Clarkson said he “hated” Meghan Markle, became the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s (Ipso) most complained-about article.
In the piece, published on Sunday, the former Top Gear presenter wrote that he lay awake at night grinding his teeth, consumed by thoughts of the duchess.
He said he dreamed of 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." Ipso said the piece, which was removed from The Sun’s website on Monday at Clarkson’s request, had received more than 17,500 complaints as of 9am on Tuesday – rising to 20,800 by 5pm.
A group of more than 60 MPs from both sides of the House wrote to the editor of The Sun condemning the column "in the strongest terms".
They demanded the newspaper take action, claiming the "hateful" piece contributed to an "unacceptable climate of hated and violence".
In the Sun's statement, the paper says it has a "proud history of campaigning" for a number of good causes, and 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."
Writing on Twitter, Mr Clarkson said he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt” following the backlash and that he would “be more careful in future”.
It follows the recent broadcast of Harry and Meghan’s explosive six-part Netflix documentary, series, in which the couple made allegations of mistreatment by the royal family and the British press.
The first three episodes saw Meghan accuse the media of wanting to “destroy” her and claim “salacious” stories were “planted” in the press. The duchess also took the publisher of The Mail on Sunday – Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) – to court, after it published parts of a personal letter to her father, Thomas Markle, winning the case in 2021.
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