Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson faced a barrage of complaints on Monday after a huge backlash to a newspaper column in which he said he “hated” Prince Harry’s wife Meghan.
In the article for UK tabloid The Sun on Friday, Clarkson wrote that he 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.”
The outspoken 62-year-old presenter insisted that he had been referencing the television series “Game of Thrones”.
“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,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”
The UK Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) said it had so far received more than 12,000 complaints over the article as of 1700 GMT on Monday, nearly as much as it received in total for 2021.
The article, which was later pulled from The Sun website, was written in response to the couple’s recent Netflix docuseries “Harry & Meghan”.
In it, they accuse the voracious UK tabloid press of racism, of trying to “destroy” Meghan and of contributing to her miscarriage through a targeted campaign fuelled by palace briefings.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned public figures that “language matters”, while Clarkson’s own daughter, Emily, said in an online post that she was “against everything that my dad wrote”.
High-profile critics of Clarkson, who enjoyed global success with Top Gear, and his article included Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, author Philip Pullman and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.