Jeremy Clarkson has said he is “profoundly sorry” for a column he wrote for The Sun, in which he made a number of disparaging remarks about Meghan Markle.
Posting to Instagram on Monday 16 January, the TV presenter said he had written to the Duchess of Sussex to apologise, and shared a lengthy statement with his followers.
Here is the statement in full:
“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. Its a mea culpa with bells on.
“Usually, I read what I’ve written to someone else before filing, but I was home alone on that fateful day, and in a hurry. So when I’d finished, I just pressed send. And then, when the column appeared the next day, the land mine exploded.
“It was a slow rumble to start with and I ignored it. But then the rumble got louder. So I picked up a copy of The Sun to see what all the fuss was about.
“We’ve all been there, I guess. In that precise moment when we suddenly realise we’ve completely messed up. You are sweaty and cold at the same time. And your head pounds. And you feel sick. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Had I really said that? It was horrible.
“I knew what had happened straight away. 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.
“We never did ‘women can’t park’ gags for instance. Or suggested that powerful cars were only for men. And I was thrilled when Jodie Kidd and Ellen MacArthur set fastest-ever laps in our reasonably-priced car. I’m just not sexist and I abhor violence against women. And yet I seemed to be advocating just that.
“I was mortified and so was everyone else. My phone went mad. Very close friends were furious. Even my own daughter took to Instagram to denounce me.
“The Sun quickly apologised, and I tried to explain myself. But still, there were calls for me to be sacked and chaged with a hate crime. More than 60 MPs demanded action to be taken. ITV, who make Who Wants to be a Millionaire,and Amazon, who make The Farm Show and The Grand Tour, were incandescent.
“I therefore wrote to everyone who works with me saying how sorry I was and then on Christmas morning, I emailed Harry and Meghan in California to apologise to them too.
“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.
“Over the last 30 years, I have written very nearly 5,000 newspaper and magazine columns, so it was inevitable that one day, I’d do a Harry Kane and sky one of the damn things. Which is what happened with the piece about Meghan.
“So can I move on now? Not sure. It’s hard to be interesting and vigilant at the same time. You never hear peals of laughter coming from a health and safety seminar. 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.”