Jeremy Clarkson defended by culture secretary over Meghan Markle comments - 'They weren’t illegal!'

Jeremy Clarkson has been defended by Michelle Donelan over his comments on Meghan Markle.
Jeremy Clarkson has been defended by Michelle Donelan over his comments on Meghan Markle.

Jeremy Clarkson wrote that he hated Meghan Markle on a 'cellular level'

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Jeremy Clarkson has been defended by Michelle Donelan over his comments on Meghan Markle.

In an article published last month, Clarkson wrote that he had dreamed of Meghan being paraded through British towns and publicly shamed, adding that “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.

Jeremy Clarkson faced backlash for his comments about Meghan Markle last month.
Jeremy Clarkson faced backlash for his comments about Meghan Markle last month.

He said: “I hate her. Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.

"At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, 'Shame!' and throw lumps of excrement at her.”

The article attracted criticism from high-profile figures, politicians, and his own daughter, Emily Clarkson.

It also received the largest amount of Ipso complaints in its history.

The Sun later pulled the article and Clarkson issued a grovelling apology, tweeting: “Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people. I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”

Now, the health secretary has defended his comments arguing in favour of freedom of speech.

Michelle Donelan has defended Jeremy Clarkson's right to freedom of speech.
Michelle Donelan has defended Jeremy Clarkson's right to freedom of speech.

She said: “I defend his right to be able to say what he wants.

“I believe in freedom of speech very, very strongly. Obviously, we all have to be mindful of what we say and the ramifications of that, but I am a believer of freedom of speech.

“I think that he had the right to say what he wanted to say, but obviously it was going to get the reaction that it got and it was going to concern a number of people.

“I wouldn’t have said what he said and I don’t align myself with the comments that he made, categorically no, of course I don’t."

Speaking to BBC Radio 4: “We do have to have freedom of press, we do have to have a position where people can air opinions that we don’t all agree with.

“That is the nature of our media sector and press and it’s important for democracy, it’s important for exposing things, it’s important for challenging democracy, holding politicians to account.

“I read the papers every day, I see many stories that I don’t agree with or the perspective that I don’t agree with and that’s quite right.

“And I would always champion journalists’ freedom and their ability and right to be able to write that content. It doesn’t mean I agree with all that, but that’s the nature of free speech – of course, that shouldn’t stray into illegal content or go in certain directions.”