Former Top Gear host Clarkson said in his column that he loathed the Duchess of Sussex "not as I detest Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West, but on a cellular level." The Sun newspaper issued an apology for the article, which became the most complained-about story in the history of the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
Clarkson, who also writes for The Sunday Times and hosts "The Grand Tour" on Amazon Prime, made the remarks in reaction to the Netflix "Harry and Meghan" documentary and has received extensive backlash from celebrities and politicians, including the prime minister of India, Rishi Sunak. In December 2022, he published a message on Twitter in response to the outrage, stating that he had "rather put my foot in it."
Jeremy Clarkson's column
Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, have held a long-standing grudge towards a number of British newspapers, with Harry filing a lawsuit against The Sun in 2019 for alleged phone hacking.
Clarkson is a writer and broadcaster who writes a weekly column for The Sun and presents the British version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" on ITV.
Clarkson was fired from the very successful BBC show "Top Gear" in 2015 after being accused of striking a producer, Oisin Tymon. Later, Tymon sued Clarkson for racial discrimination and personal damage. The lawsuit was resolved outside of court, with Clarkson apologizing and contributing to the settlement.
Clarkson wrote about Markle in his Sun column, published in print and online on December 16. The article read that he disliked the Duchess, and in his own words, "Not as much as I dislike Nicola Sturgeon (head of the Scottish National Party) and Rose West (a British serial murderer). I despise her at the cellular level."
Prince Harry's reaction
During his interview with ITV's Tom Bradby, Prince Harry remarked on Jeremy Clarkson's "hurtful and vicious" newspaper editorial about his wife, Meghan Markle.
Harry met with the British broadcaster before releasing his memoir Spare, which apparently contains numerous shocking revelations regarding his ties with the royal family, drug usage, and military duty in Afghanistan.
In response to the newspaper piece, which triggered a deluge of complaints to press regulator Ipso and was ultimately removed, Harry told Bradby, "What [Clarkson] stated was abhorrent, and it is terrible and cruel to my wife.
The Sun apologizes
As of Tuesday morning, more than 17,500 individuals had contacted the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the column, making it the most-complained-about story.
Multiple celebrities and public personalities, including Carol Vorderman, John Bishop, and the broadcaster's daughter Emily Clarkson, criticized the newspaper piece. At Clarkson's request, it was pulled off the Sun's website on Monday following condemnation from MPs and celebrities.
Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), a British press watchdog, announced on Tuesday that it had received more than 17,500 complaints on a single story since its establishment in 2014. In a letter to the newspaper's editor, Victoria Newton, more than sixty cross-party MPs demanded an apology and "action taken" against Clarkson for his piece in which he suggested that Meghan should be paraded naked through the streets.
The Sun published a statement on Friday evening: "Columnists' ideas are their own, but as a publisher, we recognize that with freedom of expression comes accountability.