Jeremy Clarkson’s hate-filled column about Meghan Markle has been taken down from The Sun’s website at the request of the presenter, as a record 17,500 complaints were lodged with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).
In the opinion piece, he added that he dreams of the day “when she is made to parade naked through the streets” while crowds “throw lumps of excrement at her”.
A spokesperson for Ipso said they had received more than 17,500 complaints about the article, making it the most complained about article in the organisation’s history.
“We will follow our usual processes to examine the complaints we have received,” the spokesperson said.
“This will take longer than usual because of the volume of complaints.”
On Monday, the presenter said he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt” following the backlash and that he would “be more careful in future”, but stopped short of apologising.
Writing on Twitter, Clarkson wrote: “Oh dear. I’ve rather 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.
“I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”
A statement on The Sun’s website said: “In light of Jeremy Clarkson’s tweet he has asked us to take last week’s column down.”
Clarkson’s article was published the day after the final three episodes of Harry and Meghan’s six-part Netflix documentary landed on the streaming service.
The first three episodes saw Meghan accuse the British media of wanting to “destroy” her and claim “salacious” stories were “planted” in the press.
Speaking about the press coverage of her, she said: “At that point, I was still very much believing what I was being told, which was ‘it will pass, it will get better, it’s just what they do right at the very beginning’.
“This promise of ‘once you’re married, don’t worry, it’ll get better, once they get used to you it’ll get better, of course it’ll get better’.
“But truth be told, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how good I was, no matter what I did, they were still going to find a way to destroy me.”
The Duchess also took the publisher of The Mail on Sunday – Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) – to court, after it published parts of a personal letter to her father Thomas Markle, winning the case in 2021.
Those criticising Clarkson’s piece included Nicola Sturgeon, Carol Vorderman, Sir Philip Pullman and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
When asked about the article, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that “language matters”.
Clarkson’s daughter, Emily, said in an online post that she is “against everything that my dad wrote”.
“My views are and have always been clear when it comes to misogyny, bullying and the treatment of women by the media,” she said, in a statement shared 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.”
As well as Top Gear, Clarkson is known for his Amazon motoring show, The Grand Tour, which he presents alongside Richard Hammond and James May, as well as ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?