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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Roisin O'Connor

‘Nothing more than a PR stunt’: Harry and Meghan reject The Sun’s apology over Jeremy Clarkson column


The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have said an apology by The Sun over a column, in which Jeremy Clarkson said he “hated” Meghan, is “nothing more than a PR stunt”.

In the column, which was published on Friday 17 December, Clarkson wrote that he dreamt of the day the Duchess would be made to parade naked through Britain while a crowd chanted “shame” and threw “excrement” at her.

The Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host claimed that “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.

The article attracted criticism from high-profile figures, politicians, and Clarkson’s own daughter, Emily Clarkson.

More than 60 cross-party MPs wrote to The Sun’s editor to demand an apology and “action taken” against Clarkson. The SNP’s shadow culture minister also called for Clarkson to be banned from TV altogether.

An apology was issued by the publication on Thursday 22 December.

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 statement issued on behalf of the royal couple via the PA News agency, however, made it clear that the apology was not accepted.

“The fact that The Sun has not contacted The Duchess of Sussex to apologise shows their intent,” a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said.

“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 of and exploit hate, violence and misogyny.

Ex-‘Top Gear’ presenter criticised the Duchess of Sussex in his Sun column (Getty/ITV)

“A true apology would be a shift in their coverage and ethical standards for all. Unfortunately, we’re not holding our breath.”

Writing on Twitter earlier that week, Clarkson said he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt” following the backlash and that he would “be more careful in future”.

“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,” he said.

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

Ipso said the piece, which was removed from The Sun’s website at Clarkson’s request, had received more than 17,500 complaints as of 9am on Tuesday 20 December – rising to 20,800 by 5pm.

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