The Sunday Times has sacked a columnist who made reference to the fact that two highly-paid BBC stars are Jewish in a column.
The piece by Kevin Myers, which appeared in the Irish edition, said: ““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? If they’re the same ones that negotiated the pay for the women on the lower scales, then maybe the latter have found their true value in the marketplace.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism complained to both press regulator IPSO and The Sunday Times over the piece.
It said: “Myers is already known as a particularly unpleasant journalist who has called the children of single parents ‘bastards’ and claimed that ‘Africa is giving nothing to anyone — apart from AIDS’.
“He has also devoted an entire column in the Belfast Telegraph to claiming that there was no Holocaust on the basis that not all of the Jews murdered by the Nazis were cremated, and attempting to nitpick over whether six million Jews really were murdered, claiming that the Holocaust had become a ‘dogma’.
“He wrote: ‘There was no holocaust, (or Holocaust, as my computer software insists) and six million Jews were not murdered by the Third Reich. These two statements of mine are irrefutable truths, yet their utterance could get me thrown in the slammer in half the countries of the EU.’
“It is clear that Kevin Myers should not have been invited to write for the Sunday Times, and his editors should never have allowed the column to be published. That they removed the column and apologised for it within hours of its publication is proof that the decision to include the column was irrefutably wrong.
“It is clear that the column breached clauses 12(i) and 12(ii) of the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s Editors’ Code by making discriminatory comments about Jews and also mentioning the religion of the Jewish BBC presenters at all.
“We have called on the Independent Press Standards Organisation to require the Sunday Times to prominently print apologies in the next edition; investigate the editorial process that allowed this column to be printed in the first place; and recommend that Kevin Myers no longer be employed by any newspaper as a columnist or journalist.”
Frank Fitzgibbon, editor of the Sunday Times in Ireland, said: “On behalf of the Sunday Times I apologise unreservedly for the offence caused by comments in a column written by Kevin Myers and published today in the Ireland edition of the Sunday Times.
“It contained views that have caused considerable distress and upset to a number of people. As the editor of the Ireland edition I take full responsibility for this error of judgment. This newspaper abhors antisemitism and did not intend to cause offence to Jewish people.”
Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens has apologised to Winkleman and Feltz.
Ivens said: “The comments in a column by Kevin Myers in today’s Irish edition of the Sunday Times were unacceptable and should not have been published. It has been taken down and we sincerely apologise both for the remarks and the error of judgement that led to publication.”
The Sunday Times has confirmed that Myers will not write for the paper again.