A column in The Sun written by British broadcaster and writer Jeremy Clarkson that coarsely maligned Meghan Markle with a Game of Thrones reference has generated more than 20,800 complaints to Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organisation, the journalism body confirmed to Semafor on Tuesday.
That’s the largest number of complaints the organization has ever received about a single article, a spokesperson said.
The Sun said it has now taken down the column at Clarkson’s request.
In his column published Friday, following the release of the Harry & Meghan docuseries on Netflix, Clarkson wrote that he is “dreaming of the day when [Markle] is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her.”
“I hate her,” Clarkson wrote. “Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”
The column led to immediate pushback.
He tweeted Monday that he “made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people,” adding, “I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”
The IPSO, which investigates complaints about content in British newspaper and magazines that may violate professional press standards, said the Clarkson column generated more complaints than the total number of complaints it received last year, which was 14,355.
A spokesperson said the agency will follow its “usual processes to examine the complaints we have received,” adding that, “this will take longer than usual because of the volume of complaints.”
The previous record for highest complaints was held by the Scottish Sun for a story published after a train derailment in the town of Stonehaven, which led to 16,860 complaints.