Prominent campaigners urge Met chief to take action
By: BARNIE CHOUDHURY
A RETIRED judge has asked the Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, to investigate TV celebrity, Jeremy Clarkson, for hate crime.
It follows the former BBC Top Gear presenter’s column in The Sun in which he said he hated the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
Clarkson wrote, “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.
“Everyone who’s my age thinks the same way.
“But what makes me despair is that younger people, especially girls, think she’s pretty cool.
“They think she was a prisoner of Buckingham Palace, forced to talk about nothing but embroidery and kittens.”
Following the publication of the column on December 16, the chair of the Society of Black Lawyers and retired judge, Peter Herbert, along with six other signatories, two of whom are MPs, have asked the Met Police to investigate Clarkson under the Public Order Act 1986.
In his letter, Herbert concluded the column could also incite terrorism.
“This type of vile language has dangerous potential consequences not only in the United Kingdom, but also in the USA where domestic terrorism is also a significant problem,” he wrote to the commissioner.
“Such terrorist acts are often encouraged by such publications.
“There is a real likelihood these comments can amount to incitement to racial hatred and be a real danger to the Duchess of Sussex, her family and friends.”
The newspaper industry regulator, Ipso, said as of 5pm on Tuesday (20) it had received 20,800 complaints about Clarkson’s column.
“We will follow our usual processes to examine the complaints we have received,” the regulator said in a statement.
“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.”
Critics, including Clarkson’s own daughter, Emily, have taken to social media to condemn the broadcaster.
Speaking on LBC, Rowley said, “There’s a line to be drawn, it’s not for the police to be involved in anything that something…is it ethical, is it moral, is it proper, is it offensive?
“The legal lines are only crossed when things are said are intended or likely to stir up or incite violence.
“I don’t think this is one of those cases, but, of course, we’ll keep a close eye on it.”
Eastern Eye asked Clarkson via twitter to discuss this story, but he did not respond.
Earlier he tweeted, “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.”
His non-apology angered many on Twitter.
The director of think-tank British Future, Sunder Katwala tweeted, “Feeble. You wrote about “hate” at a cellular level, contrasting that with a mass murderer (and a female politician).”
Feeble. You wrote about "hate" at a cellular level, contrasting that with a mass murderer (and a female politician).
— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) December 19, 2022
The Sun declined to comment to Eastern Eye.
But on Friday (23) BBC News reported, “The Sun newspaper says it regrets publishing a Jeremy Clarkson column about the Duchess of Sussex and is ‘sincerely sorry’.”
The letter in full