‘Sunday Times’ issues print apology for Kevin Myers column

Newspaper states that ‘it is important not to publish comments that overstep the mark’

Kevin Myers admitted on Tuesday that his remarks had been foolish, saying he would take full responsibility for the controversial comments in the column.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Kevin Myers admitted on Tuesday that his remarks had been foolish, saying he would take full responsibility for the controversial comments in the column. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

The Sunday Times has published an apology in print following the publication of an article by columnist Kevin Myers containing offensive remarks about Jewish people and women.

The apology – which does not mention Myers by name – said the newspaper had published a column last weekend about BBC presenters’ pay which included “unacceptable comments that causes offence to many, in particular to the Jewish community”.

It said: “We removed the article and apologised promptly to Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, who had been named in the column. Now we apologise to our readers.

“Newspapers publish controversial articles that often cause upset. It is important to generate forthright debate about issues affecting our lives. It is also important, however, not to publish comments that overstep the mark. Where this column did so, we are deeply sorry.”

Associate editor of the Sunday Times, John Burns , tweeted a photo of the front page of the paper on Saturday night with the message: “And so, at the end of a difficult week, here is tomorrow’s Irish edition of the Sunday Times”.

Myers’ article, entitled ‘Sorry, ladies – equal pay has to be earned’, was published in the Ireland edition of the Sunday Times on July 30th. The article was later removed from its website after the newspaper, which is not associated with The Irish Times, issued an apology.

Myers was dismissed from the paper later that day.

Widespread criticism

The criticism of the article has been reported widely with coverage in Ireland, the UK, Israel, India, the United States and other countries.

In the article, Myers hit out at what he called the “tiresome monotone consensus of the commentariat, all wailing and shrieking as one about how hard done by are the women of the BBC”.

The article stated: “I note that two of the best-paid women presenters in the BBC – Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, with whose, no doubt, sterling work I am tragically unacquainted – are Jewish. Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity. I wonder, who are their agents?”

Feltz, a presenter with the BBC, described the column as “horrifying racism” and said it contained “every vile stereotype about what Jewish people have ever been deemed to be by racists”.

‘The master of my soul’

Myers admitted on Tuesday his remarks had been foolish, saying he would take full responsibility for the controversial comments in the column.

“I am the author of my own misery, I am the master of my soul, the author of my own misfortune. I must answer for what I’ve done. I must do nothing to bring ruin to others,” he said. “I don’t want anyone else to lose their livelihood. Enough misery has been caused.”

Myers said he was a great admirer of Jewish people. “They are the most gifted people on the planet,” he told RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke. “Civilisation owes them a great debt. They have a wonderful sense of dignity and self worth.”

The Jewish Representative Council in Ireland, which speaks for the 2,557-strong Irish Jewish community, came to Myers’ defence, saying that branding him as either an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier was “an absolute distortion of the facts”.

Both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste said the paper had made the correct decision by issuing an apology for the newspaper column and subsequently dismissing Myers.