The press watchdog has upheld a complaint that a Jeremy Clarkson opinion column in The Sun was sexist towards the Duchess of Sussex, describing some of the comments about her as “pejorative and prejudicial”.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) also rejected complaints that the piece – in which Clarkson wrote he had dreamed of Meghan being paraded naked through British towns and publicly shamed – was inaccurate, harassed the duchess and included discriminatory references to her on the grounds of race.

READ MORE: Jeremy Clarkson apology: Prince Harry and Meghan Marke respond

The newspaper will have to publish a summary of the findings against it on the same page as the column usually appears, along with a notice flagging the statement on the front page of Saturday’s edition and on its website.

In a statement, the newspaper said it accepts “that with free expression comes responsibility”, adding it has a “proud history of campaigning for women”.

The Fawcett Society gender equality charity, which complained to Ipso, said the ruling is a “landmark decision” about a “vile and offensive” column.

The ruling is the first time a complaint to Ipso about discrimination relating to someone’s sex has been upheld, the regulator said.

Ipso found the article made references to the duchess’s sex, including a claim that she exercised power over the Duke of Sussex because of her sexuality.

It said this was “a reference to stereotypes about women using their sexuality to exert influence” and “implied that it was the duchess’s sexuality – rather than any other attribute or accomplishment – which was the source of her power”.

The regulator also found the article’s use of comparison to Scotland’s former first minister Nicola Sturgeon and serial killer Rose West was because the three are female.

In the article, Clarkson wrote: “I hate her (Meghan). Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”

Ipso also said Clarkson framed Meghan’s position as a “specifically female negative role model” when he referred to her influence on “younger people, especially girls”, and described his “dream” of her being publicly shamed in the streets of Britain as a form of “humiliation and degradation”.

It said: “Ipso considered that any of these references, individually, might not represent a breach of the code.

“However, to argue that a woman is in a position of influence due to ‘vivid bedroom promises’, to compare the hatred of an individual to other women only, and to reference a fictional scene of public humiliation given to a sexually manipulative woman, read as a whole, amounted to a breach of clause 12 (which relates to discrimination).”

“Ipso therefore found that the column included a number of references which, taken together, amounted to a pejorative and prejudicial reference to the Duchess of Sussex’s sex in breach of the Editors’ Code.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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