The trio were reportedly prompted to withdraw their support of Clarkson at the helm of the show in the wake of his controversial column in The Sun about Meghan Markle in December.
Clarkson said he hoped the Duchess of Sussex would be ‘paraded naked through the streets’ and dreamed of ‘people throwing excrement at her’ in scenes reminiscent of a particularly hard to watch scene of Game of Thrones.
And while the official line from ITV is reportedly that ‘scheduling issues’ have delayed production of the highly anticipated special, The Mirror reports behind the scenes chaos prompted the decision.
A source said: ‘The feelings were made very loud, and very clear. Namely that they didn’t want to share a platform with Clarkson and, in doing so, risk being seen to legitimise his misogynistic comments.
‘They were appearing on the show to raise money for charity, and they were acutely aware that they didn’t want causes special to their heart to be caught up in any backlash. It was a no-brainer to be honest, they had to walk away.’
The women – all household names – reportedly hope to avoid being associated with the star.
MailOnline has approached ITV for comment.
The decision to delay filming of the special was first reported by the Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff last month. Then, ITV had also put the decision down to scheduling conflicts.
The studio, crew and celebrities were all booked to attend the Dock 10 studio in Manchester and arrangements for the programmes – which would have raised money for charity – were finalised.
An email said: ‘Owing to some movement in the ITV schedules, we’re now unable to record the planned Celebrity specials until later this year.’
Clarkson’s standard edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? will begin filming this month – a contractual obligation on behalf of the network.
But ITV bosses have said they have no ‘commitment’ to further editions beyond the upcoming already commissioned series.
Clarkson is thought to be paid about £3 million a year to present the hit quiz show, having taken over from Chris Tarrant in 2018.