Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Myers: I'm not anti-Semitic... but I deserved Sunday Times sacking

By Kathy Armstrong

Journalist Kevin Myers has broken his silence to insist he is not anti-Semitic - but has admitted he deserved to be sacked for writing a hugely-controversial Sunday Times column.

Speaking to Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One on Tuesday morning, an emotional Mr Myers apologised profusely for the column two days ago, which saw the newspaper forced to apologise for causing "offence to Jewish people", and which has seen him lose his job.

"It was stupid of me, the encapsulation of such a complex issue in a single sentence," he said. "One of my flaws is to deal with major issues with throwaway lines," he added.

Mr Myers, whose columns have regularly courted controversy, also said that he believed his journalistic career is "over". Although he did say the manner of his sacking was "wrong" and it could have been handled "gently and dealt with more dignity".

"I'm not sure if there's any redemption for me now which will give a lot of people satisfaction," he said.

He said he believed that "five or six" other people would have overseen the column - some in Dublin and some in London - before it went to print.

Under the headline 'Sorry ladies, equal pay has to be earned', Myers wrote on Sunday: “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.”

Mr Myers said he deserved to be let go. But he denied he is anti-Semitic, or that he is misogynistic - while also saying that he doesn't believe in equality.

In the article he claimed that men are more ambitious, work harder, get sick less often, have more charisma - and are less likely to get pregnant.

He continued: "It's not misogynistic, I am a critic of political feminism but I'm not a misogynist. That (misogyny) is a term that I don't think you would have used about me in other circumstances, it's a simple way of labelling someone so that you don't have to listen to what they have to say."

"That's an observation I would have made on many occasions and I don't think it would have been the object of such attention in other circumstances.

"I do believe men and women behave very differently and men are driven by ambition and urges that women won't don't have generally speaking."

He added: "I'm talking about the issue of female equality, like when feminists within the BBC  talk about how they should be equal , nobody is equal - the woman who is making the tea or cleaning the floor isn't equal to the star presenter and that is the issue."

The Sunday Times removed an online version of the piece by Sunday morning amid outcry on social media, but it appeared in printed editions of the newspaper across Ireland.

Ms Feltz voiced outrage at the content of the article on the BBC's Radio London breakfast show. She said the piece highlighted "every vile stereotype about what Jewish people have ever been deemed to be by racists". She also questioned how something "so blatantly racist" was allowed to appear in the newspaper. A spokesperson for Claudia Winkleman declined to comment.

Mr Myers apologised to both women, while expressing the view that his professional career is "over".

"I am very very sorry to them, I really mean it, I'm not rescuing anything as far as I can see, it's over for me. I am issuing an apology for no other reason than contrition of the hurt I have caused them.

"I said those words out of respect for their religion."

Presenter Mr O'Rourke asked him if he believed that women are inferior to men.

"You might come to that conclusion - if I thought that then I'd be an idiot," Mr Myers replied.

Mr Myers said he believed that "five or six" other people would have seen the column before it went to print - but that he doesn't believe anyone else should lose their job.

Irish Independent

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