The Sunday Times has been forced to apologize and retract a controversial column published online and in print, which featured a slew of misogynistic and anti-Semitic remarks about the ongoing BBC gender pay gap debate.
Journalist Kevin Myers is facing intense backlash online for the article, entitled ‘Sorry, ladies – equal pay has to be earned,’ which suggested that the only reason two of the BBC’s highest earning female presenters received better salaries than their contemporaries is because they 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,” Myers wrote in reference to presenters Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz.
“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,” Myers continued in his tirade.
He also claimed that male presenters may earn more because they “work harder, get sick less frequently and seldom get pregnant.”
The Sunday Times UK editor Martin Ivens and his Irish counterpart Frank Fitzgibbon both issued apologies on Twitter.
While the offending article has been removed from the Sunday Times website, the print edition had already been delivered across Ireland. Both the British and Irish versions of the paper fall under the same umbrella corporation, News Corp, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
I see the Sunday Times editor has apologised for the Kevin Myers article he accidentally commissioned, approved, edited and published.
— Damien Owens (@OwensDamien) July 30, 2017
Myers is notorious for courting controversy with extreme rhetoric, previously writing a column in which he denied that the Holocaust ever took place.
“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,” he previously wrote in the Irish Independent. The article was subsequently removed.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism is demanding an apology in the print edition and assurances that Myers’ work will never appear in the UK news media again.
“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 article to be published. That they removed the article within hours of publishing it is proof that the decision was irrefutably wrong,” the group wrote in an online statement.
“Rather than moving swiftly on, we now expect the Sunday Times to investigate how this happened, to hold the editor responsible and the columnist to account, and to publish a high-profile and clear apology. We have contacted the newspaper’s senior management and given them our views on what should happen next.”
Gideon Falter, chair of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “This was an utterly vile column which deployed well-worn antisemitic tropes about Jews. The fulsome apologies from the editorial team at the Sunday Times are welcome, but Kevin Myers is a serial offender who should never have been given an inch of column space in the first place.”
Ironically, Myers is appearing on a panel discussing World War I at a history festival in southern Ireland alongside Rabbi Julia Neuberger.