Jeremy Clarkson: Amazon 'likely to part ways' with presenter over Meghan column row

17 January 2023, 10:07 | Updated: 17 January 2023, 14:02

Amazon Prime Video is likely to cut ties with Jeremy Clarkson following the comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex in a newspaper column, according to reports.

The streaming service has worked with Clarkson since 2015, with the TV star hosting hit shows The Grand Tour and Clarkson's Farm.

Series two of Clarkson's Farm will launch as planned in February, while the next series of The Grand Tour is still set to launch later in 2023.

However, as first reported by US entertainment site Variety, it is understood Amazon could stop working with the star beyond seasons of the shows that have already been commissioned.

It comes after Harry and Meghan dismissed an apology by Clarkson about The Sun column in which he said he "hated" the duchess, saying it was part of "a series of articles shared in hate".

Clarkson wrote in his column, published in December as the couple shared their headline-grabbing Netflix documentary series, that he was "dreaming of the day when [Meghan] is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, 'Shame!' and throw lumps of excrement at her".

The remarks sparked a huge backlash, with Clarkson's daughter Emily, as well as many others, speaking out against him.

As criticism grew, both Clarkson and The Sun apologised publicly - but Harry and Meghan rejected the newspaper's apology, describing it as a "PR stunt".

On Monday, a virtual press event to promote Clarkson's Farm was cancelled as the star shared another apology on Instagram, revealing he had emailed Harry and Meghan on Christmas Day to say sorry personally.

However, a spokesperson for the Sussexes said the couple again rejected his apology and did not believe the article was a careless, isolated incident.

They also said that Clarkson "wrote solely to Prince Harry".

According to Variety sources, Amazon will no longer be working with Clarkson beyond seasons of The Grand Tour and Clarkson's Farm that are already set to air, meaning the star would not appear on shows on the Prime Video platform beyond 2024, or potentially early 2025.

Clarkson, who also presents ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, admitted in his latest apology that both broadcasters were "incandescent" over his column.

Sky News has contacted both Amazon and ITV for comment.

What did Clarkson write?

The star's column became the most complained about ever and was removed from The Sun's website at his request, with the publisher also apologising.

"I hate her," Clarkson wrote. "Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level."

He then wrote that he lies awake at night "dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, 'Shame!' and throw lumps of excrement at her", claiming "everyone who's my age thinks the same way".

"But what makes me despair is that younger people, especially girls, think she's pretty cool."

Clarkson's apology

In his latest statement, Clarkson expanded on his first apology and denied being sexist or misogynistic.

"It was a slow rumble to start with, and I ignored it," he wrote on Instagram, referencing the backlash to his column. "But then the rumble got louder. So I picked up a copy of The Sun to see what all the fuss was about.

"We've all been there, I guess. In that precise moment when we suddenly realise we've completely messed up. You are sweaty and cold at the same time. And your head pounds. And you feel sick. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Had I really said that? It was horrible.

"I knew what had happened straight away. I'd been thinking of a scene in Games Of Thrones, but I'd forgotten to mention this. So it looked like I was actually calling for revolting violence to rain down on Meghan's head.

"I was very angry with myself because in all those controversial days on Top Gear, when I was accused of all sorts of things, it was very rarely sexism.

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"We never did 'women can't park' gags for instance. Or suggested that powerful cars were only for men. And I was thrilled when Jodie Kidd and Ellen MacArthur set fastest-ever laps in our reasonably-priced car. I'm just not sexist, and I abhor violence against women. And yet I seemed to be advocating just that.

"I was mortified and so was everyone else. My phone went mad. Very close friends were furious. Even my own daughter took to Instagram to denounce me."

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Clarkson added: "I really am sorry. All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head. This is me putting my hands up. It's a mea culpa with bells on.

"Usually, I read what I've written to someone else before filing, but I was home alone on that fateful day, and in a hurry. So when I'd finished, I just pressed send. And then, when the column appeared the next day, the landmine exploded.

"I therefore wrote to everyone who works with me saying how sorry I was and then, on Christmas morning, I emailed Harry and Meghan in California to apologise to them too. I said I was baffled by what they had been saying on TV but that the language I'd used in my column was disgraceful and that I was profoundly sorry."