Janet Street-Porter divided the Loose Women panel with her views on Jeremy Clarkson’s Meghan Markle rant.
The Clarkson’s Farm star has been widely condemned for a column he wrote about the Duchess of Sussex, in which the 62-year-old said that he despises Meghan on a ‘cellular level’ and wishes to see people ‘throw lumps of excrement’ at her.
Writing for The Sun, he said he hates Prince Harry’s wife more than he does Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, and the serial killer Rose West.
His 28-year-old daughter, Emily, later came out with a statement to make it clear she has very different views to her dad.
Discussing the hate-filled rant on Monday’s show, Janet – who has written her own column for 50 years – said she doesn’t believe his words were ‘hate speech.’
‘Columnists are paid to be controversial, to get people talking, which is exactly what he’s achieved, I’m not condoning what he wrote, I’m not saying I agree with it. But, you’ve got to see where it’s coming from,’ she began.
‘The Sun needs to sell newspapers, the editor’s a woman, she would’ve read the copy, thought it had done the job and would get everybody talking about The Sun and, at the same time, about Meghan.’
Janet continued: ‘The allusion in the column to parading through the streets is actually not made clear enough that he’s talking about a scene from Game Of Thrones.
‘As for whether it constitutes hate speech or not, it is distasteful and it is disgusting, but we live in an era of free speech and, as a columnist, my editor doesn’t tell me what to write and they don’t change what I write.
‘I do get loads of nasty comments, but I accept them and the same will be true for Jeremy Clarkson.’
The broadcaster stated: ‘Whether saying you hate someone constitutes hate speech, I don’t think so. I think we have got more sensitive about that.’
Janet added that, while she believes the comments were ‘repulsive’, specifically as a woman herself, she explained that it would have gone through ‘editorial checks’ and the publication are the ones who ‘have the legal responsibility.’
‘Unfortunately these days, we get much more upset about things than they did 200 years ago. Britain is the home of satirists and comic writers. 300 years ago, there were routine cartoons of the King with his head down the toilet,’ she reasoned.
‘But that was 200 years ago!’, Brenda Edwards chimed in, who was vocal about her disgust for the rant.
‘This is hatred,’ she stated. ‘It’s inciting for someone to be hurtful or do as he says. It’s irrelevant whether it’s a man or woman or a likeness to Game Of Thrones, this is a horrible thing to say about somebody who has had loads of mud slung at her because she fell in love with someone.’
Coleen Nolan was on the same page, branding the Top Gear star ‘an absolute disgrace.’
Adding that she does believe it’s hate speech, she said: ‘I am disgusted that he would write that about anybody and fair enough if you don’t like somebody, we can’t all like everybody, but what he wrote was everything that, if you’ve watched their series, everything they’ve been getting since day one. And he’s done it again, he’s proved them [Meghan and Prince Harry] right.’
Janet ended the debate by admitting she has stopped writing about Meghan and ‘having an opinion’ because it’s ‘not worth it.’
‘Life’s too short, and there are a lot more important things in the world,’ she declared, before adding: ‘I don’t want to see the end of free speech.’
‘Woe betide someone says that about your daughter,’ Brenda finished.
Loose Women airs weekdays at 12:30pm on ITV.
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