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Civility vs Hatred

A week on, I’m still trying to figure out in my mind why Jeremy Clarkson, or any man would wake up and feel the need to proudly express a hatred towards certain women in a newspaper article for the whole world to see.

What does hatred actually mean, I asked myself. According to the dictionary, hatred is extreme dislike or disgust.

It’s bad enough to feel such strong emotions towards another human being, most especially one you’ve never met. More concerning is for anyone to publicly announce or even joke about such a hatred by writing an article expressing the horrible things you “dream” of seeing happen to a woman you’ve never met, who you regardless profess to hate – doing so, as if it’s something to be proud of.

Based on the crimes that Rose West (a notorious serial killer and abuser) committed, I can begin to understand someone expressing hatred towards her, but even if you do not like Nicola Sturgeon’s politics, she has not committed any crime. However, as the attack on Meghan Markle was so vicious it’s easy to miss the attack on/expression of hate towards Nicola alongside a serial killer.

I’ve got to say it again, I can’t understand how a person can so causally talk of hating another human being. Aside from the impact that hatred can have on the person that the hatred is directed to, it can’t be healthy for the person who feels hatred towards a person either…. most especially if so, viciously expressed as was Jeremy Clarkson’s commentary regarding Meghan. “I hate her on a cellular level” he said, before he went on to describe the horrible things, he wants to happen to her.

“Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it” he stated on Twitter when people expressed an upset and anger, that is people inclusive of his very own daughter who distanced herself from her father’s comments.

In his Twitter statement which is unlikely to have been seen by many readers of the print copy of the newspaper, he explained that he was clumsily referencing a scene from the Game of Thrones, and would be more careful in the future completely missing the point as far as I’m concerned.

I can’t speak for him, but it came across to me as if what he was really saying was, he didn’t realise that there were so many snowflakes or ‘woke’ people that would be upset by his comments. I know he didn’t use those words, but that’s how it came across to me. Besides, if at all he was apologising for anything, it was for the clumsy reference to a scene from the Game of Thrones, not for the public and vicious expression of hate towards another human being. I will state categorically that Meghan has done nothing whatsoever to deserve this.

It's been sad to read people commenting that, that’s just the way Jeremy as if we should therefore just ignore him. There are also those that have expressed solidarity with him, arguably insighted by him to hate or express their own hatred.

I believe what took place goes way beyond Jeremy though. I think it’s clear that I believe he’s behaviour was totally unacceptable, but I believe his confidence to express such thoughts is reflective of something systemic. If not, why did Sun newspaper with a female editor, think it acceptable to publish such an article. Even if she did not personally approve of the article, it says a lot about the culture of the organisation, that people thought she would find it acceptable.

When Jeremy made a statement, why did various publications write or even send out news alerts to say that he apologised? Aside from the fact that he has not issued a public apology to the persons he publicly insulted, he said he would be more careful in future, which assumes a future in writing columns for the newspaper. Not once do the words sorry or apology appear in the statement.

The article has now been removed from The Sun’s website and been replaced by his statement from Twitter. “In light of Jeremy Clarkson’s tweet, he has asked us to take last week’s column down” is the Sun’s own statement on top of the page. No apology or acknowledgement from them expressing that they may have got things wrong in publishing the article came until a whole week after the article’s publication. “We at The Sun regret the publication of this article and we are sincerely sorry.”, reads The Sun apology which was made on the basis of the complaint, with no apology to Meghan. As such, I take this as an apology because people complained rather than an apology for what was actually written.

I take small comfort in the number of people that have complained and stated that the article is unacceptable. Indeed, I am one of the now over 20,000 people who have written a complaint to Independent Press Standards organisation. I hope that their respond is to reprimand both Jeremy and The Sun newspaper. I also hope they go on to remind the press as a whole of the ethical standards that they should follow as going beyond this particular article, I believe the attitude and behaviours that certain segments of the press are adopting towards Harry and Meghan is totally abominable. Jeremy Clarkson’s article was not written in a vacuum. There is a toxic environment that has been created that gave him the confidence and comfort to write such an article.

We refer to ourselves as a civil society, I there hope that as we move into a new year we will learn to behave accordingly.

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