Following discussion between Campaign Against Antisemitism and News UK, which owns the Sunday Times, a further statement has been issued accepting our recommendations: “Further to our earlier statement we can confirm that Kevin Myers will not write again for the Sunday Times Ireland. A printed apology will appear in next week’s paper. The Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens has also apologised personally to Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz for these unacceptable comments both to Jewish people and to women in the workplace.”
The senior management of the Sunday Times previously sent Campaign Against Antisemitism an apology over the publication of an antisemitic column by Kevin Myers which has now been removed.
Martin Ivens, editor of the Sunday Times, 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.”
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.”
The column by Kevin Myers contained the following paragraph about the BBC pay row: “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 column has been removed from the online edition of the Sunday Times and we have now asked the Sunday Times for confirmation that Kevin Myers will never again work for a News UK title, and that the apology will appear in the print edition.
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 and Principle 8 of the Irish Press Ombudsman’s Code of Practice by making discriminatory comments about Jews and also mentioning the religion of the Jewish BBC presenters at all.
In addition to no longer writing for the Sunday Times, we expect that Kevin Myers will no longer work as a journalist at any decent publication. We also understand that the Sunday Times will review its editorial procedures to examine how this lapse in editorial judgement was permitted in the first place.