More than 10,000 of Jeremy Clarkson’s fans have signed a petition urging ITV not to sack him as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? after his controversial column about Meghan Markle.
Around 11,000 people have signed the online petition, which claims the negative reaction to Clarkson’s column was “completely disproportionate”.
The petitioners said Clarkson’s punishment was “already totally disproportionate to the crime, adding being sacked by ITV would “add to his humiliation”.
They also urged ITV CEO Carolyn McCall to “consider the price Jeremy Clarkson has already paid for his comments”.
Ms McCall recently cast doubt on Clarkson’s future on the network when she told MP John Nicolson his views were “in no way endorsed by ITV”.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host Jeremy Clarkson (pictured) apologized for his comments about Meghan Markle on Tuesday
Clarkson wrote that he “hated” the Duchess and dreamed of her being paraded naked through towns and having “excrement” thrown at her
It comes after Clarkson’s column in The Sun, in which he said he “hates” Meghan Markle – adding he dreamed of the Duchess being paraded around British cities naked and having excrement thrown at him.
He had written: “I hate her. Not that I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate them on a cellular level.
“At night I can’t sleep as I lay there grinding my teeth and daydreaming about the day when she has to parade naked through the streets of every city in Britain while the crowd chants ‘Shame!’ and throw clods of feces at them.
“Everyone my age thinks the same way.”
It quickly became the Independent Press Standards Organization’s (Ipso) most criticized article after its publication, with many branding his comments as “misogynistic.”
The Sun later apologized and said it regretted publishing the column, which surpassed more than 25,000 Ipso complaints.
Even Clarkson’s own daughter issued a public statement condemning her father’s remarks.
But the 62-year-old TV presenter, who also faced some controversy while working on Top Gear for the BBC, has a loyal fanbase who seem ready to support him despite what Clarkson himself described as “disgraceful” language.
After Clarkson was fired from the BBC in 2015 after hitting a Top Gear producer, a petition launched to get him back on the show had over a million supporters.
Now a Free Speech Union petition is appealing to ITV bosses “please don’t fire jeremy Clarkson”, claiming that some of those who spoke out against the column after it was published “don’t really believe Mr Clarkson’s remarks don’t seem to endanger anyone.’
The statement claims that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are trying to “Mr. destroying Clarkson’s career” and are therefore “far more damaging to him than anything he has said about the Duchess”.
It adds that a decision to fire Clarkson would amount to “canceling culture at its worst” and claims ITV should “take into account the price Jeremy Clarkson has already paid for his remarks”.
The founder wrote: “Amazon has indicated that there will be no more seasons of Clarkson’s Farm or The Grand Tour commissioned and his Sun column has not reappeared in the paper, suggesting he lost that one too.
“Should he be further punished by losing his only other main source of income? The punishment is already utterly disproportionate to the crime without adding to its humiliation.’
In a recent MailOnline poll of more than 3,000 people, about 78 percent supported the former Top Gear host in continuing to present the quiz show, while just 19 percent believed he should be fired.
Three percent said they were unsure.
After his column sparked outrage, Clarkson wrote to the Sussexes on Christmas Day to apologize – although the couple later claimed his letter was only for Harry directly.
However, his future at ITV now appears to be in jeopardy.
Dame Carolyn wrote Mr Nicolson a letter in response to correspondence he had sent asking whether Clarkson’s comments went against the ITV statement on program policy and strategy for social causes.
In the response, published by entertainment website Deadline, he didn’t say if he would lose his job, but said the concern over his comments was “perfectly understandable.”
She said: “ITV has no editorial control over Jeremy Clarkson’s independent journalistic work in The Sun or anywhere else he wishes to be published.”
“Everyone at ITV is very aware of our responsibilities as a public broadcaster and I would like to make it clear that the comments made are those of Jeremy Clarkson and are in no way endorsed by ITV,” she wrote.
“ITV has no room for comments in this article.
She added that he is not an ITV employee and his role as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? “Gives him no platform for his opinions”.
Earlier this week ITV said it would have “no further commitments” with Clarkson after the show’s next series aired this year, leading to suggestions he had lost the gig, which earns him around £3million a year .
The bosses declined to comment on the reports when previously contacted by MailOnline.
But when asked directly if Clarkson would present the show, a spokesperson said ITV “has contracted one more series and due to films”, adding that there were “no further commercial commitments beyond that” at the moment .
The petition had more than 4,000 signatures from Clarkson supporters at the time of publication
Kevin Lygo, director of media and entertainment at ITV, previously said in December that he had “no control” over what Clarkson wrote in his columns, but went so far as to apologize.
Asked whether Clarkson would remain as presenter of ‘Millionaire’, Mr Lygo said: ‘Yes, for the moment we are. What he says in the newspapers is beyond our control.’
Clarkson is believed to be paid around £3million a year to present the hit quiz show after taking over Chris Tarrant in 2018.
But the Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff reports he was due to film celebrity special editions of the show next month before they were postponed due to “scheduling issues”.
The studio, crew and celebrities have all been booked to visit the Dock 10 studio in Manchester and preparations for the programs – which would have raised money for charity – have been completed.
However, late last week, the production company told attendees that filming had been postponed due to “scheduling issues.”
An email said: “Due to some shifts in ITV schedules we will not be able to pick up the planned celebrity specials until later this year.”
Fans of the 62-year-old fear it will be “canceled before our eyes” after it was reported that Amazon Prime will halt production of the presenter’s shows – Clarkson’s Farm and The Grand Tour – next year, the latter of which earns him annually at least 10 million pounds.
ITV boss Carolyn McCall has written in a letter that Clarkson’s views have “no place” on the network
Prince Harry branded the article about his wife Meghan Markle as “terrible, hurtful and cruel”.
In a lengthy statement on his verified Instagram account, The Grand Tour host said he emailed the couple on Christmas Day to say his language in the column was “disgraceful” and he was “deeply sorry.”
On Monday night, a virtual press conference promoting Clarkson’s Farm season 2 was canceled by Amazon at the last minute, though the series will still be available to stream beginning February 10.
In his apology, Clarkson had admitted that Amazon executives were “glowing” after his column, with reports suggesting the company is unlikely to work with him anytime soon.
It comes as some critics implored the Sussexes to “move on” from the “drama,” suggesting their quest for Clarkson’s “total humiliation” by publicly denying his apologies goes against the “compassion and love” the they preach so often.
Ann Widdecombe was among the commentators who rallied around Clarkson this week as she slammed the “break culture” and added that she has “a very low opinion of people who refuse apologies,” in a outright critique of Harry and Meghan .
However, others branded the presenter’s remorse as disingenuous, accusing the TV star of failing to address the insult caused by his column and being motivated by his own lucrative career interests.
In a lengthy statement on Instagram apologizing for his comments, Clarkson described the moment he picked up a copy of The Sun to “see what all the fuss was about.”
He continued: “We’ve all been there I think. Right at that moment we suddenly realize we’ve completely screwed it up. You’re sweaty and cold at the same time. And your head is pounding. And you feel sick. I couldn’t believe what I read. Did I really say that? It was terrible.
“I knew immediately what had happened. I was thinking of a scene in Games of Thrones but forgot to mention it. So it looked like I was actually calling for heinous violence to be rained down on Meghan’s head.
“I was very angry with myself because in all those controversial days at Top Gear, when I was accused of all sorts of things, very rarely it was sexism.
“I was embarrassed and so was everyone else. My phone went crazy. Very close friends were angry. Even my own daughter took to Instagram to denounce me.’
ITV has been contacted for comment.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11661245/10-000-Jeremy-Clarkson-fans-sign-petition-urging-ITV-not-sack-Wants-Millionaire-host.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 10,000 Jeremy Clarkson fans sign a petition urging ITV not to sack the ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ host