The Sun newspaper has said it regrets the publication of a Jeremy Clarkson column about the Duchess of Sussex and is “sincerely sorry”.
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 apology comes after the piece, in which Clarkson said he “hated” Meghan, became the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s (Ipso) most complained-about article.
Ipso said the piece, which was removed from The Sun’s website on Monday at Clarkson’s request, had received more than 17,500 complaints as of 9am on Tuesday – rising to 20,800 by 5pm.
In the column 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? claimed that “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.
The Sun later removed the piece from its website, claiming Clarkson had asked them to do so.
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.
Now, a week after the row broke, the newspaper has issued the apologetic statement.
It read: “In last Saturday’s Sun, Jeremy Clarkson wrote a comment article about the Duchess of Sussex.
“It provoked a strong response and led to a large number of complaints to IPSO, the independent press regulator.
“In a tweet earlier this week, Jeremy said he had made a “clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones”, which had “gone down badly with a great many people” and he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt”. He also said he will be more careful in future.
“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 article has been removed from our website and archives.”