The reaction to Jeremy Clarkson’s Sun column about Meghan Markle has been so over-the-top, it’s actually becoming quite funny. The most ridiculous I’ve seen so far was that of Chris Packham, presenter of Springwatch and a long-standing opponent of Clarkson’s on everything from driven shooting to farming. He tweeted: “It’s hate crime, pure and simple. If there were any sort of justice there would be laws that would jail him. And shut down the publisher. Is this the country we want to live in? Is this what we should tolerate? We must ask ourselves – where is this leading? Nowhere good.”
It’s hate crime , pure & simple . If there were any sort of justice there would be laws that would jail him . And shut down the publisher . Is this the country we want to live in ? Is this what we should tolerate ? We must ask ourselves – where is this leading ? Nowhere good .
— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) December 19, 2022
Does Packham really believe that Britain would be a better place if newspaper columnists could be imprisoned (and their newspapers shut down) for saying something offensive? Maybe he does.
I can’t link to the column in question because Clarkson has asked the Sun to take it down (which I think is a mistake). But it hardly matters because it’s been reproduced everywhere, particularly by those who claim to believe the words Clarkson used are likely to inspire violence against women and girls. (If they’re really so dangerous, why keep repeating them?) Here’s the offending passage:
I hate her. Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.
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.
This is an obvious reference to the scene in Game of Thrones in which Cersei is forced to do a ‘walk of atonement’ by the High Sparrow, but that was ignored by all Clarkson’s critics who reacted as if he had dredged up with this peculiar form of ritual humiliation from deep in his ‘misogynistic’ psyche. Apart from David Baddiel, who got the reference but condemned Clarkson anyway on the grounds that the original scene was itself a “violent misogynistic fantasy”.