Jeremy Clarkson’s Sun newspaper column, in which he said he “hated” the Duchess of Sussex, has become the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s (Ipso) most complained-about article, the regulator has said.
Ipso said the piece, which was removed from The Sun’s website on Monday at Clarkson’s request, had received more than 17,500 complaints as of 9am on Tuesday.
The number surpassed the total number of complaints the media regulator received in 2021 – 14,355.
Stonehaven train derailment
The previous most complained-about article was published in the Scottish Sun in August 2020, about the Stonehaven train derailment, which received more than 16,860 complaints.
In the piece published on Friday, Clarkson wrote that he had dreamed of Meghan being paraded through British towns and publicly shamed, adding that “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.
The article attracted criticism from high-profile figures, politicians, and his own daughter, Emily Clarkson.
A spokesman for the regulator told the PA news agency: “Ipso has now received more than 17,500 complaints about Jeremy Clarkson’s column on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, published by The Sun on Friday December 16 2022.
“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.”
The spokesman added that the number of complaints would be subject to change.
Ipso is a voluntary press-funded body not backed by the Government, which upholds journalistic standards in the UK.
It was launched in 2014 in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry, which concluded that the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) was not working.
Not all UK publishers are members of Ipso.
The most number of complaints received by the PCC, Ipso’s forerunner, was 25,000 – following a 2009 comment piece in The Daily Mail by Jan Moir about the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately.
However the PCC later ruled the piece had not been in breach of the Editorial Code, and the complaints were not upheld.
MPs write to The Sun
Earlier on Tuesday, a group of 60 MPs wrote to the editor of The Sun, Victoria Newton, to condemn the article “in the strongest terms”.
The cross-party group, led by Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, said the “hateful” article had contributed to an “unacceptable climate of hatred and violence”, and demanded that the publication take action against Clarkson.
“We are horrified at the recent article by Jeremy Clarkson in your publication. As parliamentarians of every persuasion, we condemn in the strongest terms the violent misogynistic language against the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle,” the letter read.
“This sort of language has no place in our country, and it is unacceptable that it was allowed to be published in a mainstream newspaper. Ms Markle has faced multiple credible threats to her life, requiring the intervention of the Metropolitan Police.
“Hateful articles like the one written by Mr Clarkson do not exist in a vacuum, and directly contribute to this unacceptable climate of hatred and violence.”
The letter continued: “We are deeply concerned about the role modelling being promoted to young men and boys, that they can verbally attack women without a consequence or that it is OK to use violent language to address a woman that you might disagree with.
“You will no doubt know how violence against women and girls has surged across Britain in recent years. We must do better. Enough is enough. We cannot allow this type of behaviour to go unchecked any longer.
“We welcome The Sun’s retraction of the article, we now demand action is taken against Mr Clarkson and an unreserved apology is issued to Ms Markle immediately.
“We further demand definitive action is taken to ensure no article like this is ever published again.”