FILE PHOTO: Amol Rajan (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Advertising Week)
BBC journalist Amol Rajan apologises for his past comments about British royals
THE BBC journalist who fronted a controversial royal documentary on Thursday (2) apologised for describing the public role of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a ‘total fraud’ and called Prince Philip a ‘racist buffoon’, reported the MailOnline.
Amol Rajan, who presented The Princes And The Press, made the incendiary remarks in articles written in 2012 when he was the editor of The Independent.
“In reference to very reasonable questions about some foolish commentary from a former life, I want to say I deeply regret it. I wrote things that were rude and immature and I look back on them now with real embarrassment, and ask myself what I was thinking, frankly,” Rajan tweeted.
“I would like to say sorry for any offence they caused then or now. I’m completely committed to impartiality and hope our recent programmes can be judged on their merits,” he said in another tweet.
In one open letter to William and Kate, written in December 2012 after the couple announced they were expecting their first child, Rajan urged them to ‘renounce the luxuries of royal patronage and aristocracy’, claiming that ‘everyone will be a winner’ if they do.
He also suggested that rather than a ‘vast palace’, the duke and duchess should raise their family in a ‘decent suburban townhouse’ and should send their child to a ‘normal school’.
In other columns written for the newspaper, he described Prince Charles as ‘scientifically illiterate’.
He also blasted the Diamond Jubilee as a ‘celebration of mediocrity’ and said of the royals: “Aside from the Queen – whose public image is crafted by an ever-expanding team of propagandists – this clan is unusually full of fools.”
His apology comes after BBC director-general Tim Davie said last year that he would crack down on staff posting their views online to ensure impartiality, and staff could even be forced off Twitter if they fail to meet the ‘high bar’.
According to the MailOnline, the revelations will pile fresh pressure on the BBC over its handling of Rajan’s two-part documentary, which drew unprecedented censure from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace and accusations of bias.
The Princes and the Press dwelt on how Harry and his elder brother William have handled the media as they rose to adult prominence following the tragic death of their mother Diana in 1997.
The royal family slammed the documentary that claimed a behind-the-scenes briefing war erupted before Prince Harry and his wife Meghan quit frontline duties.
“A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy,” said a rare joint statement by the three royal households.
“However, too often it is overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources that are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”
Critics said the series, which concluded this week, failed to challenge allegations made by supporters of the Sussexes, including Meghan’s lawyer Jenny Afia.
It came as photographs emerged on Wednesday (1) showing Rajan at a cocktail party with a number of Meghan’s associates, including one of her closest friends, Misha Nonoo.
He was photographed with fashion designer Nonoo at the 2015 event hosted by the now-disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein and his then-wife Georgina Chapman.
Rajan was also pictured mingling with Chapman and designer Keren Craig, with whom she co-founded the Marchesa brand.
Meghan has modelled for Marchesa in the past and still regularly showcases the fashion label.
However, Rajan claimed he has no recollection of ‘exchanging a word’ with either Nonoo or Craig before or since the party, which was held in honour of media owner Evgeny Lebedev.
“It’s ridiculous to suggest these pictures mean anything,” a spokesman for the BBC said.
“Once journalists join the BBC, they leave past views at the door. Amol is an experienced BBC journalist who reports on all of the topics he covers in an impartial way and in line with the BBC’s editorial guidelines. All BBC current affairs output is required to be impartial.”
In last week’s first episode of The Princes And The Press, journalist Omid Scobie, co-author of the biography of the Sussexes, Finding Freedom, said negative stories had been leaked about Meghan, although he did not name those involved.