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ABC News
ABC News

Jeremy Clarkson 'horrified' at response to Meghan Markle column described as 'vile', but does not apologise

Television presenter Jeremy Clarkson has said he is "horrified" at the response to a controversial newspaper column he wrote about Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

It comes after more than 6,000 complaints were lodged to the UK's press regulator over Clarkson's Friday column in The Sun newspaper where he said he hated Meghan "on a cellular level" and compared his hatred of her to that of serial killer Rose West.

The former Top Gear host also wrote that he was unable to sleep as 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".

The column drew widespread criticism in the UK and Clarkson's own daughter Emily took to Instagram to criticise her father.

Clarkson, 62, sent a tweet on Monday morning saying he had "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 wrote.

"I'm horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future."

The column came out the day after the release of the final three episodes of the Netflix documentary series Harry & Meghan, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex both spoke out against their treatment in Britain's tabloid media and about mental health battles they had suffered.

Meghan has also previously spoken of suicidal thoughts she had following the intense media scrutiny on her following her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

'Toxic, vile abuse'

Clarkson, who had his contract with the BBC terminated after punching a Top Gear crew member, said in the column he felt sympathy for Prince Harry but said Meghan was "a different story".

"I hate her," he wrote.

"Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West.

"I hate her on a cellular level."

Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland's First Minister, while Rose West – along with her husband Fred – killed and tortured nine young women in England in the 1970s and 80s.

Ms Sturgeon said what Clarkson wrote about Meghan was "deeply misogynistic and just downright awful and horrible".

"The overwhelming emotion I have for men like Jeremy Clarkson is pity," she told the BBC.

"I can't imagine what it must be like to be so consumed and distorted by hate of other people, and in his case it appears women in particular, that you end up writing that toxic, vile abuse.

"The kind of abuse he was hurling at Meghan Markle, that has consequences.

"Words have consequences, in that if they stir up hate against an individual then there are some people out there who would try to act on that."

Clarkson's daughter Emily, an author and podcast host, also hit out at her father's comments.

"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 her Instagram story.

"I want to make it very clear that I stand against everything that my dad wrote about Meghan Markle and I remain standing in support of those that are targeted with online hatred."

Politicians across the divide have also criticised Clarkson for the column, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak replying "language matters" when asked about it during a trip to Latvia.

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