Kevin Myers: Support from members of the Irish Jewish community ‘very consoling’

Sacked columnist says Varadkar and Fitzgerald ‘breached protocol by attacking me’

 Sacked journalist Kevin Myers rejected assertions that he was a misogynist. Photograph:   Dara Mac Dónaill

Sacked journalist Kevin Myers rejected assertions that he was a misogynist. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

If it was not for the support of members of the Jewish community in Ireland, Kevin Myers believes he might not have survived psychologically the criticsm of recent days following his Sunday Times article.

In his column, which the newspaper has deleted from its website, Myers had linked the pay of two BBC employees, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz to the fact they are Jewish and implied that gender pay differences existed because men worked harder and, as he put it, “seldom get pregnant”.

“For the past two nights I haven’t been able to sleep,” he said. “The support of the Jewish Representative Council and in particular of individual Jewish people has been very, very consoling. They have been concerned for me. They are very fine people,” he said.

He was interviewed yesterday morning by the London-based Jewish Chronicle and said he found the interviewer “sympathetic”.

Over recent days he had been accused of being “an anti-Semite and of racism, things I am not. I shouldn’t have said some of the things I did. It’s one of the things I do. You go off in a tangent and get it wrong. I’m down,” he said.

He also rejected assertions that he was a misogynist and said this should be clear to anyone who read him this past 20 years. What he did object to however was “political feminism with an egalitarian agenda”, because “there is no such thing in life as equality”.

The idea was “a pitiful cul de sac into which western civilisation has backed itself and which it knows not to be true”.

People “have different functions. Equality is of no value. Seán O’Rourke is not paid the same as others at RTÉ. Some get good money based on their market value. As do Miriam O’Callaghan, Claire Byrne, and Marian Finucane. ”

But he did believe, in general, that men and women should “of course” get the same pay for the same job.

Enormously damaged

Where the Sunday Times was concerned, he had no reason to co-operate with their review into publication of last Sunday’s article following the “unceremonious manner” with which he had been treated by the publication. He had been “enormously damaged” by its actions.

“The BBC News led with my dismissal. Why was I of such importance?” That was on Sunday morning.

“I was not told of my dismissal by the Sunday Times until 1.30 that afternoon. My sister-in-law in Cumbria heard it before I did in Skibbereen. ”

He was attending a summer school there.

‘Badly phrased words’

Myers said he received a text and when he returned the call he was told: “We won’t be using you again. Ever’. All because of a half dozen badly phrased words.”

He did not blame anyone at the paper in Dublin (which is not connected to The Irish Times) for what had happened.

“I like to submit perfect copy and if I make a factual assertion I submit a note.” Besides “enough damage has been done already. I see no reason to extend the circle of unhappiness”.

He had received “hundreds of emails in support” without which he did not think he could have withstood attacks by what he called “the lynch mob” over the past few days. He hoped they (lynch mob) were “very pleased”.

He also believed the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald had “breached protocol by attacking me in response to the social media storm”.

That storm may now be “blowing over but the damage is done. For me it is the end, professionally,” he said.

Earlier on RTÉ, Myers acknowledged that he was the author of his own misfortune but added that he was “in a very bad way”.

“I’m not sure if there is any redemption for me,” he told Seán O’Rourke. “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. I don’t want anyone else to lose their livelihood. Enough misery has been caused.”