Hatchlings divided on TV stalwarts response to Meghan Markle apology
Jeremy Clarkson is well-known for his outspoken, unapologetic nature. He is viewed as being immune from the ‘cancellation curse’ many controversial stars face, due to his outlandish nature…until now?
When you’re in bed with all of the major streaming and production outlets, who face corporate scrutiny, sometimes even the seemingly untouchable find themselves in hot water.
Clarkson, a columnist for The Sun, filed a piece following the launch of Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series in December.
Within the column, Clarkson made his feelings for Meghan known writing that he lay in bed “dreaming of the day when she [Meghan] 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”.
He also stated that he hated Markle on a “cellular level”. This column was hit with instant uproar.
The public turned on Jeremy, with even his biggest supporters noting that he’s gone a step too far. The Sun newspaper apologised for the December article and removed it from its website immediately.
Following this pressure mounted from the public upon Clarkson’s various employers to have him sacked, production ceased and Clarkson was ostracised from society. Even his own daughter publicly disowned him.
Claims of investigations were brandished as a default distancing by the likes of Amazon and more, but Clarkson himself was quiet. No statement, no apology, no doubling down balls to the wall. Until a few days ago when I was scrolling Instagram and came across a notes apology from Clarkson himself which you can view in full here.
Taking the standard celebrity route of meaningful note posting, with comments turned off, Clarkson joined an elite club of social media apology celebs.
It sparked a divide in the Hatch office as to whether the apology succeeded in dampening the uproar.
Here’s El’s take…
Clarkson starts his apology by trying to show the public that he is the same of them, through the unilateral belief that everyone hates MPs. He instantly uses an association tactic to unify himself with the audience reading his statement, and combats any instant negativities by admitting he knows social media apologies are never good enough.
This cuts any potential criticism on this straight off at the source as he’s done it first and shows he is self-aware.
The next key thing that strikes me is the tone of voice, using phrases like ‘All the way from the balls of my feet to the follicles on my head.’ It’s the language and tone we’re used to hearing from Clarkson, not some PR corporate robotic apology. This helps show the sincerity from Clarkson, whilst also reinforcing this apology is direct from the source, not his management, or at least that’s what it leads up to believe.
He then breaks down the process of filing, and states that with this piece, he filed it without a proof reader or second opinion, thus forth eliminating any blame for The Sun, who can now waive their responsibility, that’s a nice tick in the box of keeping his Sun column.
The reference Clarkson claims he was making, was to the Game of Thrones scene in which shame is shouted as Cersei Lannister is paraded naked through the streets. A reference which I instantly picked up on when reading Clarkson’s column, but seems to have been missed by many. He explains this to again eliminate the idea that he wished actual physical harm or trauma to Meghan, instead of wishing her into a fantasy situation from a TV show.
The next section of the apology is his CV of worth, his proof of what a feminist ambassador he has claimed to have been throughout his career. I understand what he was trying to do here, but if your only accolades for womenkind is that you didn’t make sexist comments about women being able to park, and you were happy when a woman won a car race, then it really does fall flat and transparent.
It finishes with an explanation that after seeing the backlash, and realising the sentiment of his column, he wrote to Harry and Meghan on Christmas morning to apologise, and finishes with him rationalising that he has written and said things for many years, and this is the first one which has gone badly wrong, another attempt to claw his way into heaven with his record.
The final sentence references that he is going to be a grandfather soon, and that will be the focus of his future writing. This is a smart way of not only gaining sympathy and praying on human empathy for babies, but also a final reminder that he is a relatable human, and I imagine wants to be treated as such.
Clarkson is what he is, and to this point it’s served him and his career well. Now I have no strong opinion either way about the current Royal family media thread; it’s a family squabble (albeit the World’s most famous family) playing out in the spotlight that far too many people are too deeply interested in, given none of them actually know the truth.
That said, when I read Clarkson’s column and knowing exactly what scene he was referring too, it felt like the sheer ignorance and inability to read the 2022 room was deservedly his moment to face the dreaded ‘cancel culture’. Not everything deserves the uproar that many things get these days, but this certainly did.
A month goes by, we find out that his future work at Amazon and ITV is likely done for, and low-and-behold…here’s the apology.
After that amount of time, people have made their minds up and swaying any opinion from there out is going to be difficult. To do so in a social media post rather than broadcast immediately seems weak – he directly admits that they very rarely do the job their intended to do, so why bother.
Using the ‘I’m one of you’ tone of voice, in my opinion, only serves to start us off on a condescending note. Especially when your next sentence is excusing what you did because you were ‘in a rush’ and nobody had time to proof your misogynist bile.
The description of his physical response to the public reaction was an interesting touch, alongside his daughter, friends and colleagues being mad at him. What a horrible time that must have been. Boo hoo, poor Jeremy.
At least we know he’s not sexist though, because he let some women on his show and even let them drive the cars. Not all heroes wear capes I guess.
Anyway, I’ll wrap-up with the fact that given his comment about writing to Harry and Meghan at Christmas was a complete fabrication, and he actually just wrote to a husband to apologise for abusing his wife, I’m quietly confident that this is a poorly executed last-ditch attempt to save what was once an untouchable career.
So, what’s your take? And what’s next for Clarkson – can his popularity and iconic personal branding survive this? Only time will tell.