ITV Boss Responds To Calls For Jeremy Clarkson To Be Dropped Over Meghan Markle Column

Dame Carolyn McCall said there is "no place on ITV for the comments made in that article".
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson
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ITV chief Dame Carolyn McCall has said there is “no place” at the channel for comments like those made by Jeremy Clarkson about Meghan Markle in his now-infamous column for The Sun.

Last month, the former Top Gear host faced widespread criticism over an opinion piece he penned in which he said he “hated” the Duchess of Sussex on a “cellular level”.

He added in the piece that he “dreamed” of the day she’d be “made to parade naked through the streets” while crowds “throw lumps of excrement at her”.

Shortly after its publication, Clarkson faced calls to be dropped as the host of ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which the channel’s CEO responded to at the time in a letter that was made public this week.

In the letter, McCall told one complainant their “concerns are completely understandable”.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Chris Jackson via Getty Images

“ITV has no editorial control over Jeremy Clarkson’s independent journalistic output in The Sun or anywhere else he chooses to publish,” she wrote (via Deadline).

“Everyone at ITV is very aware of our responsibilities as a Public Service Broadcaster and I’d like to be clear that the comments made were Jeremy Clarkson’s own and are in no way endorsed by ITV. There is no place on ITV for the comments made in that article.”

McCall added: “It is also worth adding that Jeremy Clarkson is not an ITV employee and 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.”

Carolyn McCall
Carolyn McCall
LEON NEAL via Getty Images

At the height the controversy last month, Clarkson said he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt”, but stopped short of an actual apology at the time.

Since then, he shared a lengthy statement on Instagram claiming he’d sent an email to both Meghan and her husband Prince Harry on Christmas Day to say his language in the column had been “disgraceful” and he was “profoundly sorry”.

He claimed: “Usually, I read what I’ve written to someone else before filing, but I was home alone on that fateful day, and in a hurry. So when I’d finished, I just pressed send.

“And then, when the column appeared the next day, the land mine exploded.”

A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex later said: “On December 25, 2022, Mr Clarkson wrote solely to Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. The contents of his correspondence were marked Private and Confidential.

“While a new public apology has been issued today by Mr Clarkson, what remains to be addressed is his long standing pattern of writing articles that spread hate rhetoric, dangerous conspiracy theories, and misogyny.

“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.”


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