Harry and Meghan dismiss Sun apology for offending column as 'PR stunt'

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on Saturday dismissed an apology by the tabloid Sun newspaper for publishing a column highly critical of Meghan as a "PR stunt" and said the newspaper had not contacted her to say sorry.

In the column, television presenter Jeremy Clarkson wrote of Meghan: "At night, I'm unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, 'Shame!' and throw lumps of excrement at her."

Britain's Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) regulator said on Tuesday that it had received more than 17,500 complaints, the most about any article since it was established in 2014.

“While the public absolutely deserves the publication’s regrets for their dangerous comments, we wouldn’t be in this situation if The Sun did not continue to profit off of and exploit hate, violence and misogyny," a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said.

"A true apology would be a shift in their coverage and ethical standards for all. Unfortunately, we’re not holding our breath."

The Sun, in its apology, said: "We at The Sun regret the publication of this article and we are sincerely sorry", adding that the article had been removed from its website and archives.

More than 60 lawmakers signed a letter written by Caroline Nokes, chair of parliament's Women and Equalities Select Committee, to the editor of The Sun warning such articles contribute to a climate of hatred and violence against women.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Monday, Clarkson said he was "horrified to have caused so much hurt" and would be "more careful in future".

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as Harry and Meghan are officially known, stepped down from royal duties in March 2020, saying they wanted to make new lives in the United States away from media harassment.

In a Netflix documentary series, Meghan spoke about how her treatment by the media had left her feeling suicidal as well as concern over whether she and her children were safe.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar: Editing by Nick Macfie)

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