The release of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Netflix docu-series in December 2022 was always going to provoke a mixed response – but even so, Jeremy Clarkson's recent column in The Sun about how much he hates Meghan Markle 'on a cellular level' took the biscuit for one of the most vicious, misogynistic tirades we've come across in a long time.
Little surprise, more than 20,000 complaints were made to the press regulator about Clarkson's op-ed, which was denounced by his own daughter, sparked a global backlash and was described by Prince Harry as 'horrific' and 'cruel' during a recent ITV interview.
Now, some four weeks later, Clarkson has posted a lengthy apology on Instagram – in which he also claims that he e-mailed Harry and Meghan on Christmas morning to apologise personally.
In the post, the 62-year-old presenter wrote: 'One of the strange things I've noticed in recent times is that whenever an MP or a well-known person is asked to apologise for something, no matter how heartfelt or profound that apology may be, it’s never enough for the people who called for it in the first place.
So I'm going to try and buck the trend this morning with an apology for the things I said in a Sun column recently about Meghan Markle. I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head. This is me putting my hands up. It's a mea culpa with bells on.'
Clarkson went on to say that on the day the column was published, 'the land mine exploded' and he soon realised he had 'completely messed up'.
'I knew what had happened straight away,' he writes. 'I'd been thinking of a scene in Games Of Thrones, but I’d forgotten to mention this. So it looked like I was actually calling for revolting violence to rain down on Meghan's head. I was very angry with myself because in all those controversial days on Top Gear, when I was accused of all sorts of things, it was very rarely sexism.'
The statement goes on to say that he was 'mortified and so was everyone else', and even 'very close friends were furious.' As a result, Clarkson says he 'wrote to everyone who works with me saying how sorry I was and then on Christmas morning, I e-mailed Harry and Meghan in California to apologise to them too.'
As for the exact details of said email, Clarkson remained vague, but did say: 'I said I was baffled by what they had been saying on TV but that the language I'd used in my column was disgraceful and that I was profoundly sorry.'
Clarkson concluded his statement by saying he will try to change: 'So can I move on now? Not sure. It's hard to be interesting and vigilant at the same time,' he writes. 'But I promise you this, I will try. Who knows? Very soon now I shall be a grandfather, so in future, maybe I'll just write about that.'
Harry and Meghan are yet to respond to Clarkson's statement.
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