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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Christi Carras

Harry and Meghan reject Jeremy Clarkson's apology for hateful column about duchess

Prince Harry and Meghan have not accepted British TV host Jeremy Clarkson's public apology for a hit piece he wrote about the Duchess of Sussex.

In a statement provided Monday evening to the Guardian, the royal couple said that Clarkson had previously written "solely to Prince Harry" in a message "marked private and confidential" before publicly apologizing Monday via Instagram.

"While a new public apology has been issued today by Mr. Clarkson, what remains to be addressed is his longstanding pattern of writing articles that spread hate rhetoric, dangerous conspiracy theories and misogyny," a spokesperson for the Sussexes said.

"Unless each of his other pieces were also written 'in a hurry', as he states, it is clear that this is not an isolated incident shared in haste, but rather a series of articles shared in hate."

On Monday, Clarkson attempted to "buck the trend" of failed apologies from public figures by releasing what he called "a mea culpa with bells on" for his widely condemned column attacking the former Meghan Markle. In the December article published in the Sun's opinion section, Clarkson declared that he despised the Duchess of Sussex "on a cellular level" and dreamed of a day she would be forced to "parade naked" through the streets while people threw feces at her.

"I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head," Clarkson wrote in his Monday statement. "This is me putting my hands up."

When it came out, Clarkson's story ignited a firestorm on social media and prompted thousands of complaints to U.K. press regulator IPSO. Amid a tidal wave of criticism, the Sun decided to yank the column from its website.

In his statement, Clarkson said he usually reads his work to someone else before filing but "was home alone on that fateful day, and in a hurry," so he "just pressed send."

"When the column appeared the next day, the land mine exploded," he continued.

"It was a slow rumble to start with and I ignored it. But then the rumble got louder. So I picked up a copy of the Sun to see what all the fuss was about. ... I couldn't believe what I was reading. Had I really said that? It was horrible."

This isn't the first time Clarkson has addressed the backlash to his anti-Meghan tirade. Shortly after the story was published, the broadcaster tweeted that he had put his "foot in it" by making "a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones" and promised to be "more careful in the future." (He seemed to be alluding to Cersei Lannister's infamous walk of shame in Season 5 of the HBO drama.)

"I'd been thinking of a scene in Game of Thrones, but I'd forgotten to mention this," Clarkson repeated Monday.

"So it looked like I was actually calling for revolting violence to rain down on Meghan's head. ... I'm just not sexist and I abhor violence against women. And yet I seemed to be advocating for just that. I was mortified and so was everyone else."

Clarkson also claimed that — contrary to the Sussexes' statement — he emailed both Harry and Meghan on Christmas morning to apologize for the "disgraceful" language used in his article. In an interview last week with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Harry said he was shocked but not surprised by the column and thanked Clarkson for "proving our point" about the media's unfair treatment of his wife.

"Can I move on now? Not sure," Clarkson concluded his most recent apology. "But I promise you this, I will try."


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