Liverpool is “wallowing in victim status”, a former equalities chief told Kelvin MacKenzie after the newspaper columnist was criticised for comparing the Everton footballer Ross Barkley to a gorilla.
Trevor Phillips sent a text to Mr MacKenzie saying he “had no idea Barkley was a brother”, adding: “Sad to see a great city wallowing in victim status. Unbelievable.”
Mr MacKenzie, who was suspended by The Sun over his remarks, said he had expected the one-time chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to claim he was racist.
Mr Phillips’s support was mirrored by MPs, including one Conservative who sent a text saying: “On behalf of all gorillas, I’d like to make a complaint.”
Writing in the Spectator magazine, Mr MacKenzie defended his Sun column, claiming he was not aware that Mr Barkley’s grandfather was half-Nigerian.
He said: “I and every football fan I had ever met believed Barkley to be white. Unluckily for me, but luckily for my enemies in the North West, that was not entirely true.”
Mr Phillips declined to comment.
News UK announced Mr MacKenzie had been suspended from the Sun following the controversy over the article, saying he expressed "wrong" and "unfunny" views about the people of Liverpool.
The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, had reported the columnist to police over an article he claimed contained "a racial slur".
The comment, in MacKenzie's column, centred on Mr Barkley after the footballer was punched in a Liverpool city centre bar in the early hours of Monday.
He wrote: "Perhaps unfairly, I have always judged Ross Barkley as one of our dimmest footballers."
"I get a similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo."
MacKenzie went on to say it was therefore "no surprise" to him that the Everton star had been attacked in a nightclub.
"He is an attractive catch in the Liverpool area, where the only men with similar pay packets are drug dealers and therefore not at nightclubs, as they are often guests of Her Majesty," he added.
Labour councillor Mr Anderson had told BBC Sport: "Not only is it racist in a sense that he is of mixed-race descent, equally it's a racial stereotype of Liverpool. It is racist and prehistoric."
A News UK spokesman said: "The Sun's columnist Kelvin MacKenzie has been suspended from the paper with immediate effect.
"The views expressed by Kelvin Mackenzie about the people of Liverpool were wrong, unfunny and are not the view of the paper.
"The Sun apologises for the offence caused. The paper was unaware of Ross Barkley's heritage and there was never any slur intended.
"Mr Mackenzie is currently on holiday and the matter will be fully investigated on his return."