ITV boss responds to calls for Jeremy Clarkson to step down from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
The pressure is on.
An ITV boss has responded to calls for Jeremy Clarkson to be removed from his hosting role on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? following his "hateful" comments about Meghan Markle.
Last week, the former Top Gear presenter wrote in The Sun how he "hates" the royal "on a cellular level" and dreams about people throwing "excrement" at her as she walks naked in the streets – a somewhat throwaway reference to Game of Thrones, Clarkson has since insisted.
He said he dislikes the Duchess of Sussex more than First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and notorious serial killer Rose West.
The column received widespread condemnation from the public, celebrities, politicians and even Clarkson's own daughter.
This led to calls from some for Clarkson to be removed from his television roles for ITV and Amazon Prime. As of December 2022, Clarkson is the current host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? on ITV.
Now, the broadcaster's media and entertainment boss Kevin Lygo has responded to the backlash. Although he said the column did not represent ITV's values and was "awful," Lygo said there were no plans "at the moment" to replace him as host of the game show.
Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild event in London on Tuesday, Lygo said he had "no control" over what Mr Clarkson wrote in his newspaper columns, the BBC reports.
"We hire him as a consummate broadcaster of the most famous quiz on television, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" he said.
"So it's not quite in our wheelhouse but I don't know what he was thinking when he wrote that. It was awful."
More than 20,800 people have complained about the article, which was published in The Sun on 16 December, making it reportedly the most complained about article in British media history.
The publisher removed the online column at Clarkson's own request.
More than 60 UK MPs have signed a letter put forward by Conservative MP Caroline Nokes which demanded that The Sun take action against Clarkson.
His column was even opposed by his own daughter, Emily, who came out to say she "stands against everything" her dad said.
Clarkson on Monday tweeted that he was "horrified" by the amount of "hurt" he had caused and promised to be more careful in future. The comment was criticised for not including a clear apology.
In the letter addressed to The Sun's editor, Victoria Newton, Nokes and other MPs demanded that the newspaper take direct action against Clarkson.
— Caroline Nokes MP (@carolinenokes) December 20, 2022
Nokes said MPs demand that action is taken against Clarkson immediately and that an "unreserved apology is issued".
Due to the former Top Gear presenter's comments about Nicola Sturgeon in the article, SNP MP John Nicolson also wrote to the ITV chief executives saying Clarkson should "not be allowed back on our screens".
Following grotesque comments made about the First Minster and The Duchess of Sussex, I do not believe Jeremy Clarkson should be allowed back on our screens. I've written to the Chief Executive of @ITV. pic.twitter.com/oUnc3OvhKQ
— JOHN NICOLSON M.P. (@MrJohnNicolson) December 19, 2022
In a statement on Tuesday evening, IPSO said: "IPSO has received more than 20,800 complaints (5pm, 20 December 2022) about an opinion piece on the Duchess and Duke of Sussex written by Jeremy Clarkson and published by The Sun on Friday, 16 December 2022.
"We will follow our usual processes to examine the complaints we have received. This will take longer than usual because of the volume of complaints.
"Ipso works to uphold editorial standards by deciding whether the Editors’ Code of Practice has been breached in individual cases; monitoring trends in editorial standards; and making interventions to improve standards.
"Using the Editors’ Code of Practice, we examine the complaints we receive and try to seek a resolution between the complainant and publication."