Sussexes dismiss Sun apology for Clarkson column as ‘PR stunt’

Paper’s apology followed piece in which columnist said he ‘hated’ Meghan

A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has said an apology by the Sun over a column in which Jeremy Clarkson said he “hated” Meghan is “nothing more than a PR stunt”.

The column has become the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s (Ipso) most complained about article, with more than 20,000 people contacting it over the piece, according to Ipso.

The article was removed from the Sun’s website on Monday at Clarkson’s request after widespread criticism.

On Friday, the Sun said it regretted the publication of the column and was “sincerely sorry”.

But on Saturday, a spokesperson for the Sussexes said Meghan had not been contacted by the newspaper to apologise.

The spokesperson said: “The fact that the Sun has not contacted the Duchess of Sussex to apologise shows their intent. This is nothing more than a PR stunt.

“While the public absolutely deserves the publication’s regrets for their dangerous comments, we wouldn’t be in this situation if the Sun did not continue to profit off and exploit hate, violence and misogyny. A true apology would be a shift in their coverage and ethical standards for all. Unfortunately, we’re not holding our breath.”

In the column, Clarkson wrote that he was “dreaming of the day when she [Meghan] 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”.

He added that he hated the Duchess of Sussex “on a cellular level” in the piece which was published on Friday 16 December in the wake of the release of the Netflix docuseries Meghan & Harry.

After widespread outrage, Clarkson issued a statement on Monday, but was criticised by some for its lack of an apology.

He said: “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.”

In its statement on Friday, the Sun said: “Columnists’ opinions are their own, but as a publisher, we realise that with free expression comes responsibility.”

The statement added that Clarkson’s article had been removed from its website and archives.


Jane Clinton

The GuardianTramp

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