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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Nardine Saad

After 6,000 complaints, British tabloid yanks column that trashed Meghan Markle

A controversial column that British TV host Jeremy Clarkson wrote for the Sun has been taken down following mounting criticism and after the polarizing star issued an apology on Twitter.

The Friday column was written by "The Grand Tour" host about Meghan Markle on the heels of the release of the final three episodes of the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry's new Netflix docuseries. The six-part series, "Harry & Meghan," chronicles their experiences since stepping back from duties as senior royals in the British monarch.

Clarkson's column was written under the Sun's opinion section and is no longer posted on the tabloid's website.

"In light of Jeremy Clarkson's tweet he has asked us to take last week's column down," the Sun said on the webpage where the column originally ran.

In the piece, the 62-year-old wrote of his distaste for the California-born duchess, saying that he hated her "on a cellular level," despises her more than a serial killer and that he dreamed of a day that people would throw excrement at her on the streets. He also thinks Netflix should have renamed the series "A Woman, Talking Bollocks" and laments the damage Meghan brought to the royal family.

The BBC News reported Monday that more than 6,000 complaints were made to press regulator Ipso regarding the piece, which also prompted a strange apology on Monday from the former "Top Gear" host.

"Oh dear. I've rather put my foot in it. In a column," Clarkson tweeted. "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 "Harry & Meghan," the Sussexes discuss racism and the mistreatment of the biracial duchess in British tabloids before their big move to California in 2020. Clarkson said that he felt "sorry" for Prince Harry, whom he referred to as a "glove puppet" and "Harold Markle" in the piece, and believes is being "controlled" by his wife who turned him into "a warrior of woke."

"I hate her. Not like I hate (Scotland's First Minister) Nicola Sturgeon or (serial killer) Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level," he wrote in the piece. "At night, I'm unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she 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."

Clarkson was apparently referring to Cersei Lannister's infamous walk of atonement in Season 5 of HBO's "Game of Thrones."

"Everyone who's my age thinks the same way," he wrote. "But what makes me despair is that younger people, especially girls, think she's pretty cool. They think she was a prisoner of Buckingham Palace, forced to talk about nothing but embroidery and kittens," he continued. "That makes me even angrier. Can't they see everything that's happening is so very obviously pre-planned."

But, contrary to his apology, it wasn't the "Game of Thrones" reference that people took issue with. It was the all-around nastiness of the prose and Clarkson's insistence that he was speaking for people his age.

Former U.K. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith replied, "I'm your age @JeremyClarkson and I couldn't disagree more with you. Why do you have to be so horrible? I can't believe it's good for you and it certainly isn't good for the rest of us."

According to the Independent, Sturgeon, the first woman to be appointed leader of the Scottish National Party and also Scotland's First Minister, said that Clarkson's remarks were "deeply misogynist and just downright awful and horrible."

"I have to say, taking a step back from it, my overwhelming emotion about guys like Jeremy Clarkson is pity," Sturgeon said. "I mean, what is it that makes somebody so distorted by hate that they end up writing these things?"

Others also felt Clarkson's apology was disingenuous.

"This tweet insults, gaslights & disrespects on an epic level," tweeted activist and "Why I Resist" author Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu. "Very British non apology. Jeremy Clarkson laughs in our faces. Nothing will change for him. Those who support him like Camilla, the Palace, British Media & powers that be will applaud him for hatchet job on Meghan Markle."

Camilla, Britain's Queen Consort, has also come under fire for hosting a Christmas lunch last Wednesday that Clarkson attended along with TV commentator and longtime Meghan critic Piers Morgan. (The lunch took place a day before the latter three episodes started streaming on Netflix.)

On Sunday, Clarkson's daughter, podcast host Emily Clarkson, also admonished her father and said she supports those "targeted with online hatred."

"My views are and have always been clear when it comes to misogyny, bullying and the treatment of women by the media," she wrote on Instagram Stories, the BBC said. "I want to make it very clear that I stand against everything my dad wrote about Meghan Markle."

A representative for Harry and Meghan did not immediately respond Monday to The Times' request for comment.


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