The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have dismissed an apology by The Sun newspaper over a column in which Jeremy Clarkson said he “hated” Meghan as “nothing more than a PR stunt”.
A spokeswoman for the couple said while they “absolutely deserved the publication’s regrets” the fact the paper hadn’t attempted to contact them “showed their intent”.
They added that a “true apology” would consist of a “shift” in the paper’s “ethical standards”.
The apology from The Sun came after the piece became the most complained-about article in the history of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).
In a statement on Friday, The Sun said: “In last Saturday’s Sun, Jeremy Clarkson wrote a comment article about the Duchess of Sussex. It provoked a strong response and led to a large number of complaints to Ipso, the independent press regulator.
“In a tweet earlier this week, Jeremy said he had made a ‘clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones’, which had ‘gone down badly with a great many people’ and he was ‘horrified to have caused so much hurt’. He also said he will be more careful in future.
“Columnists’ opinions are their own, but as a publisher we realise that with free expression comes responsibility. We at The Sun regret the publication of this article and we are sincerely sorry.”
Responding to the apology, the Sussexes’ spokeswoman said: “The fact that the Sun has not contacted the Duchess of Sussex to apologise shows their intent.
“This is nothing more than a PR stunt. While the public absolutely deserves the publication’s regrets for their dangerous comments, we wouldn’t be in this situation if The Sun did not continue to profit off of and exploit hate, violence and misogyny.
“A true apology would be a shift in their coverage and ethical standards for all.
“Unfortunately, we’re not holding our breath.”
In the piece, published last Friday, 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”.
Ipso said the piece – removed from The Sun’s website on Monday (20th Dec) at Clarkson’s request – had received more than 20,800 complaints.
The reaction surpassed the total number of complaints the media regulator received in 2021 – 14,355.