Belfast Telegraph

Paper apologises for Kevin Myers' comments

By Alan O'Keeffe

The Sunday Times has apologised for publishing a column by Kevin Myers which gave rise to accusations that his remarks were anti-Semitic and anti-women.

The controversial column led to Myers being sacked within hours of its publication the previous week.

The newspaper yesterday published a short, four paragraph, editorial at the bottom of its comments page on page 14 which contained an apology, without naming Mr Myers.

In his article about the BBC gender pay gap, Myers had referred to the Jewish faith of high-earning BBC presenters Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, stating that Jews are "not generally known for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest-possible price".

Myers (70) had later claimed he believed he was paying the two women a compliment. But he admitted: "I am the author of my own misfortune."

The editor of the Sunday Times Irish edition, Frank Fitzgibbon, was absent from Twitter over the weekend. Associate editor John Burns, tweeted the front page, merely stating it was "the end of a difficult week".

Four letters on the controversy were published in the newspaper's Letters To The Editor section. Two were critical of the editorial process in the newspaper which had failed to prevent the remarks being published.

One letter from a woman in Wexford stated Myers' writings over the years were "far from anti-Semitic" and she believed him to be "a deeply compassionate and honest man".

A fourth letter writer claimed Myers' past writings had demonstrated his "pro-Israel" stance in the troubled Middle East.

The newspaper's apology was entitled 'Overstepping The Mark' and stated the column "included unacceptable comments that caused offence to many, in particular to the Jewish community".

It stated that the column was removed and the newspaper had apologised to the two female BBC presenters.

"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," it stated.

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