Jeremy Clarkson remains host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? says ITV boss | Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson remains host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? “at the moment”, ITV’s boss has said, as the presenter’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex attracted a record number of complaints from press regulators.
Kevin Lygo said ITV had “no control” over what Clarkson said in his Sun newspaper column, but that “he should apologise” for his comments.
In a recent column for The Sun, Clarkson said he felt “hate” for Meghan and dreamed of seeing her publicly humiliated in the street. Clarkson later said he was referencing a scene in Game of Thrones and asked for the column to be taken offline because people had misunderstood it.
The Independent Press Standards Organization (Ipso) said Clarkson’s newspaper column had become the most complained about article in its history, attracting 20,800 complaints by Tuesday night.
Lygo, chief executive of ITV Studios, told members of the Broadcasting Press Guild: “We have no control over what he says. We hire him as a consummate broadcaster of the most famous quiz show on TV, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
“So it’s not quite in our wheelhouse, but I don’t know what he was thinking when he wrote it. It was awful.”
Asked if ITV wanted to keep Clarkson on as host of the quiz show, Lygo said: “Yes, at the moment we are. What he says in the papers we have no control over.”
Asked if Clarkson represented ITV’s values, Lygo replied: “No, of course he doesn’t in that case.”
On Monday, Clarkson responded to the controversy while stopping short of apologizing: “Oh dear. I have rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I awkwardly referenced a scene in Game of Thrones, and this has gone down badly with a lot of people. I am horrified to have caused so much pain and I will be more careful in the future.”
The question comes amid renewed scrutiny of British newspaper regulation following the release of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan documentary, in which the royal couple described their displeasure with the coverage they had received.
On Monday, The Guardian revealed that the head of Ipso, which will investigate the allegations against Clarkson’s column The Sun, was to eat at the apartment of Sun owner Rupert Murdoch – but resigned earlier that day.
Ipso said it would take longer than usual to assess whether there had been a breach of the rules due to the volume of complaints. However, Ipso’s code does not cover matters of taste and propriety – meaning it is unlikely Clarkson broke any rules.
Press regulation campaign group Hacked Off has seized on the Clarkson column. It has organized a letter signed by celebrities who have been victims of media intrusion – including Sienna Miller, Steve Coogan and Simon Pegg – urging the government to implement the recommendations of the Leveson inquiry into press regulation.