What did Jeremy Clarkson say and why is he so threatened by Meghan Markle?

Jeremy Clarkson has a fantasy. No, it’s not about finally finding a car that can increase the size of your genitals. Or get a steak and chips served by the BBC 24 hours a day, when it rings a little silver bell. Nor is it about picking up a gun and shooting public sector strikers in front of their children – that was 2011, carry on!

This time he lays awake at night, imagining – no, dreaming – of the day when Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will be “forced to parade naked through the streets of every city in Britain as crowds chant ‘Shame! and throw pieces of excrement at him”.

I didn’t make this line for effect. I didn’t make it up to hammer home a point about Jeremy Clarkson and the sort of person who is seemingly endlessly rewarded by certain sections of the UK media and public. I don’t think I could have come up with something so vile, even if I tried to caricature it in the most extreme way possible.

These words come straight from the formerTop of the line the presenter’s mouth (or rather, the keyboard). In his column for the Sun newspaper this week, Clarkson told everyone that even though he was “unable to sleep” at night, he cringed and recreated this scene from game of throneswhere Cersei Lannister is humiliated and spat on, dragged naked through King’s Landing while angry passers-by throw shit at her.

Why do people like Jeremy Clarkson feel so threatened by Meghan Markle? Why did Clarkson write that he hates Meghan in the same breath he mentioned hating convicted serial killer Rose West? For me, the answer is quite clear.

Meghan refused to maintain a docile silence, refused to have her story told by others. She spoke her truth and raised her voice for the world to hear via Harry and Meghan, Netflix’s most-watched documentary. This pisses Clarkson and her ilk — the Piers Morgans and Dan Woottons of the world — so much so that a successful, outspoken beautiful woman of color hasn’t just swallowed a sustained campaign of intimidation. Instead, she held up a mirror to British society, and what we see there is extremely uncomfortable.

It’s part of an unspoken rule that famous — and non-famous — women should just shut up, suck it up, and move on when we’re the target of abuse. Act like it never happened. Accept it as part of having a public profile. It reminds me of the responses my female colleagues and I receive when we point out the gendered vitriol we have received in our jobs. And this abuse is worse for women of color in media roles, as misogyny is often fused with racism.

The fact that a privileged man like Clarkson could use his platform in a national tabloid to highlight how much he despises Meghan – who has shared experiences of racism in the royal household and at the hands of much of the press British – and sharing his fantasy of his degradation and humiliation is, frankly, sickening. The sentiment in his column wouldn’t be out of place on 4chan or in an abusive thread by a faceless troll that Elon Musk re-entered on Twitter.

This isn’t the first time Jeremy Clarkson has crossed the line either. Clarkson, let’s not forget, punched a colleague at the BBC because he couldn’t get a hot dinner when he wanted it, and indulged in an ableist mockery of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the calling him a “one-eyed Scottish idiot”. The divorced father’s bitter energy isn’t just pitiful and boring — it should raise important questions about who is being rewarded and listened to, and why.

Once again, Clarkson has gone too far – but considering he’s a 62-year-old white in the public eye, will that even matter? He’s been called out for this obnoxious, misognytic rant by stars including Carol Vorderman, John Bishop and Kathy Burke. His own daughter – podcast host Emily Clarkson – spoke out on Instagram, writing in her Stories: “I want it to be very clear that I oppose everything my dad has written about Meghan Markle and I remain standing in support of those targeted with online hate.

The other bright spot here is that we now know exactly how ingrained Meghan is in Clarkson’s consciousness. He admitted to lying awake at night, dreaming of her naked, ashamed and in pain, because he despises her “on a cellular level”. Meghan not only lives rent-free in this man’s head, she could probably wear his skin like a glove. She won.

As for Jeremy Clarkson, who fantasizes about humiliating a woman he doesn’t love, he’s nothing more than a national embarrassment. It’s hardly surprising that violence, harassment and feelings of insecurity are a daily reality for women and girls in Britain when a prominent newspaper columnist and TV star feels emboldened to spout fantasies of scatological degradation from a public platform.

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