There is “no place on ITV” for Jeremy Clarkson’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex, the broadcaster’s boss has said.
“Everyone at ITV is very aware of our responsibilities as a public service broadcaster,” Carolyn McCall wrote in a letter to John Nicolson, the Scottish MP, after he called for Clarkson to be sacked in the wake of his remarks.
The letter, written in December, was published by the news website Deadline, as ITV weighs up whether to renew Clarkson’s tenure as host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Ms McCall has not given any public response to the column.
ITV has commissioned Clarkson for one further series of the show, but has no obligations beyond that.
It comes after Clarkson admitted this week that his bosses at ITV and Amazon were “incandescent” about comments he made about Meghan in a column for The Sun last month.
He said that he hated her “on a cellular level” and dreamed 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”.
Mr Nicolson, who is the shadow SNP spokesman for digital, culture, media and sport, wrote to Ms McCall to argue that Clarkson’s column went against ITV’s statement of programme policy and social purpose strategy.
“ITV has no editorial control over Jeremy Clarkson’s independent journalistic output in The Sun or anywhere else he chooses to publish,” Ms McCall wrote in her reply.
“I’d like to be clear that the comments made were Jeremy Clarkson’s own and are in no way endorsed by ITV.”
She stressed that Clarkson is not an ITV employee, and added that “when he appears on ITV it is as a quiz show host on a show which does not provide a platform for his opinions”.
When Clarkson's column was published in December, Kevin Lygo, ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, said the show’s position “at the moment” was to keep him as host.
“I don’t know what he was thinking when he wrote that. It was awful,” he said.