In the game of ‘what does Jeremy Clarkson have to say before it has a real world consequence for him’, ITV has confirmed that – for the time being at least – it’s standing by him.
Clarkson fronts Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? for the channel, taking over the hotseat from the less contentious Chris Tarrant. However, as you may be aware, he’s been in the news – Clarkson, not Tarrant – for a column he wrote in The Sun newspaper about Meghan Markle.
The content of that column has been widely reported, and in a competitive field, feels like the nadir of 2022’s ‘trying to be contentious’ brand of newspaper writing. There has, of course, been stiff competition.
Over 20,000 complaints have thus far been sent to press regulator IPSO about Clarkson’s article, which even The Sun appears to have realised may have been a bad idea, and taken down. That’s the level we’re at.
The question as to Clarkson’s suitability to host a family quiz show when he’s written about his desire to see a woman basically stripped naked and pelted with shit had been called into question. ITV Studios’ managing director Kevin Lygo though is standing by his bigot. Acknowledging that he felt Clarkson’s comments were “awful”, Lygo separated Clarkson’s television and newspaper work, not unreasonably suggesting he has no control over the latter.
He does over the former, however, but Clarkson should be assured that Lygo has his back. “We hire him as a consummate broadcaster of the most famous quiz on television, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?“, he insisted.
Clarkson, for his part, has admitted that what he wrote was, er, “clumsy”, but in the era where cancel culture is supposed to be a thing, there’s no sign of him being cancelled, and not a fat lot of sign of culture either.
Doesn’t half help when you can phone a friend…