The UK’s press regulatory body, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), has initiated a formal investigation into the controversial column written by Jeremy Clarkson. The article in question was published in The Sun newspaper and quickly became the most complained-about piece in UK history, with over 25,000 complaints lodged against it. The IPSO’s decision to launch an investigation was prompted by complaints from The Fawcett Society and The Wilde Foundation, who alleged breaches of accuracy, harassment, and discrimination.
In the controversial column, Clarkson wrote about Meghan Markle and expressed a desire to see her “parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her,” in reference to a scene from the popular television show Game of Thrones.
The column generated widespread outrage and led to swift consequences for Clarkson. The Sun newspaper issued an apology and removed the piece, while Clarkson himself apologized to Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, as well as through Instagram and Twitter. However, his apology was not well-received by the couple, who reside in Los Angeles.
The future of Clarkson’s media ventures is now uncertain, as Amazon Prime Video, which commissions his popular show Clarkson’s Farm, is unlikely to renew their contract with him beyond 2024. Additionally, the future of his role on ITV’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is being revaluated, following a letter from ITV CEO Carolyn McCall to a Scottish MP stating that there is “no place” for Clarkson’s remarks on her channel.
The outcome of the IPSO’s investigation will be made public once it has been completed. Meanwhile, many people are eagerly awaiting the results, as the case is seen as a litmus test for freedom of speech and the ethics of journalism in the UK. Regardless of the outcome, it is clear that the column has already had a significant impact on Jeremy Clarkson’s career and public image, and will likely continue to shape the discourse surrounding him for years to come.