Jeremy Clarkson’s newspaper column in which he said the Duchess of Sussex should be paraded “naked through the streets of every town in Britain” has become the press regulator’s most complained about article ever.
More than 20,800 complaints have been made to the Independent Press Standard Organisation (IPSO) over the column, which was published in The Sun on Friday.
The article was removed from the newspaper’s website following a request by Clarkson to do so.
On Monday, Clarkson tweeted: “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 Games 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 cross-party group of MPs have signed a letter condemning the article in the “strongest terms” as they said it contributed to an “unacceptable climate of hatred and violence”.
The letter was submitted by Conservative MP Caroline Nokes to The Sun editor Victoria Newton.
It stated that the 60 MPs who put their names to the letter are “horrified” at the article.
In the original piece in the newspaper, Clarkson said of Meghan Markle: “At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming 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.”
Following the publication of Clarkson’s column. his daughter Emily posted on her Instagram to state her opposition to her father’s remarks.
She wrote: “My views are and have always been clear when it comes to misogyny, bullying and the treatment of women by the media.
“I want to make it very clear that I stand against everything my dad wrote about Meghan Markle.”
Also in the article, Clarkson compared his “hate” of Meghan Markle with that of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, as well as the serial killer Rose West.
The SNP leader responded to the comments in an interview with STV News on Monday.
“To be perfectly frank, the emotion that I feel most strongly, mainly, for Jeremy Clarkson is pity,” said Sturgeon.
“That somebody can be so distorted by hate, in this case against Meghan Markle that they write that kind of vile stuff in a newspaper.
“But words have consequences. Again, I’m a passionate believer in free speech, but one person’s exercise of what they consider to be free speech, if that impinges on the safety of somebody else, then clearly there is a balance there not being struck.
“So everyone has to exercise the rights we all cherish in our society today with a degree of respect, civility and responsibility.”
An IPSO statement read: “We will follow our usual processes to examine the complaints we have received. This will take longer than usual because of the volume of complaints.”