Kelvin MacKenzie has sparked further outrage over his attack on Muslim newsreader Fatima Manji by threatening to mount and counter-complaint about her to Ofcom.
His original piece has so far sparked almost 2,000 complaints to press regulator Ipso.
But today MacKenzie revealed he himself planned to lodge a “formal complaint” with the broadcast watchdog for a breach of “impartiality”.
He claimed Manji should not have worn her headscarf given the Nice attackers’ religious motivation was “central” to coverage of the incident.
He pointed to the Tory peer Baroness Waris, who sometimes wears a hijab on television, saying: “A Muslim woman does have a choice [to wear the clothing]”. Warsi has previously accused MacKenzie of peddling “respectable racism” and “xenophobia”.
The former Sun editor wrote:
“I will be looking at making a formal complaint to Ofcom under the section of the broadcasting code which deals with impartiality.
“Since the question of religious motivation was central to the coverage of the Nice attack, I would ask whether it is appropriate for a newsreader to wear religious attire that could undermine the viewers’ perception of impartiality.
“A Muslim woman does have a choice.”
But the comments provoked fury, including from Manji’s colleague Jon Snow.
The veteran broadcaster tweeted:
BBC journalist Julia Macfarlane also weighed into the debate,
The reporter quipped that given MacKenzie’s stance he presumably “thinks men shouldn’t report on any crime perpetrated by a man”.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron soon chipped in too, admonishing MacKenzie’s counter-complaint, saying the threat to complain to Ofcom following his own “bigoted remarks” was “beyond belief”.
Other Twitter users joined in voicing their anger at MacKenzie, outraged at his latest column that further provoked the media row raging over Manji.
The Sun has maintained a ‘no comment’ stance over the anger at MacKenzie since the row broke out.
It deleted a tweet promoting his story amid a string of angry responses.
Manji herself hit back at MacKenzie last week, promising “not [to] be deterred in this mission by the efforts of those who find the presence of Muslims in British cultural life offensive.”
She ended the piece by referencing The Sun’s infamous 1989 front page which bore the headline ‘THE TRUTH’, blaming Liverpool FC fans for the disaster at Hillsborough stadium which left 96 dead.
“THE TRUTH?” she wrote, “I confess. I pi**ed on Kelvin MacKenzie’s apparent ambitions to force anyone who looks a little different off our screens, and I’ll keep doing it.”
Channel 4 News’ editor Ben De Pear claimed in the latest statement following the affair that Manji had been “subject to an act of religious discrimination”.
He said in a statement: