Clarkson’s Sun Column on Meghan Markle: A Blatant Disregard for Press Standards

**Column Found Sexist by Britain’s Press Watchdog**

A column written by Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun tabloid, which depicted disturbing images of Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, has been deemed sexist by Britain’s press watchdog.

**Humiliating and Degrading Remarks**

Jeremy Clarkson’s column in December expressed his intense dislike for the Duchess of Sussex, stating that he hated her “on a cellular level.” He went on to accuse Meghan of manipulating Harry with her “vivid bedroom promises” and likened her control over him to that of a sock puppet.

**IPSO Finds Multiple Breaches of Editors’ Code**

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), an independent regulatory body that many UK publications adhere to, has determined that the column contained numerous derogatory and prejudiced remarks about Meghan’s sex, which violated the editors’ code.

**Sexual Stereotypes and Misogyny**

According to IPSO’s findings, the column perpetuated stereotypes about women using their sexuality to exert influence. It insinuated that Meghan’s power stemmed solely from her sexuality, disregarding her other attributes and accomplishments. These implications were seen as degrading and demeaning towards the duchess.

**Record Number of Complaints and Newspaper’s Response**

The column prompted a significant influx of complaints to the regulator, which subsequently required The Sun to inform its readers of the watchdog’s findings. The newspaper complied and published a headline on its front page, emphasizing that Jeremy Clarkson’s column had breached IPSO’s regulations. The actual column was removed, and an apology was issued by the newspaper in December.

**Jeremy Clarkson’s Apology and Daughter’s Disapproval**

Jeremy Clarkson, renowned for hosting “Top Gear” and “The Grand Tour” on Amazon, expressed his horror at the backlash caused by his column. He offered a sincere apology and pledged to exercise caution in the future. His daughter, Emily Clarkson, was one of the individuals who vehemently criticized the column, publicly denouncing her father’s words and standing in solidarity with those targeted by online hate.

**Explanation of “Clumsy Reference” and Context**

Jeremy Clarkson clarified that the image he painted of Meghan’s public shaming was meant as a “clumsy reference” to a scene from “Game of Thrones.” He sought to explain that it was not intended to promote harm but rather to evoke a fictional scenario.

**Column Follows Harry and Meghan’s Split**

The release of a six-part Netflix documentary exploring Harry and Meghan’s contentious departure from the British royal family preceded Jeremy Clarkson’s column. In 2020, the couple resigned from their royal duties and relocated to California, citing a lack of support from the palace and the racial bias they experienced from the press. The column in question was published amidst the ongoing fallout surrounding their decision.

**Press Regulator’s Stance and Rejection of Some Complaints**

The press regulator, IPSO, dismissed claims that the column contained inaccuracies, harassment, or racial discrimination against Meghan. However, they upheld the complaints regarding sexism made against The Sun.

**Meghan’s Response and Support from Gender Equality Group**

Although Meghan did not formally file a complaint about the column, she did not object to the subsequent investigation conducted at the request of the Fawcett Society, an organization advocating for gender equality, and the Wilde Foundation, a charity that supports female abuse victims. The Fawcett Society commended IPSO’s ruling, as it marks the first time the watchdog has upheld complaints of sexism.

**Crucial Step Forward in Combating Misogyny**

Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, hailed IPSO’s decision as a significant moment for the media. She emphasized that this ruling serves as an opportunity for the industry to acknowledge that misogyny and hate speech disguised as satire or banter are no longer acceptable. It is a call for the media to align itself with the long-standing knowledge held by women.

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