British columnist apologizes over anti-Semitic article

Kevin Myers, who was fired from the Sunday Times over anti-Semitic article, says he admires the Jewish people.

Ben Ariel,

Sunday Times building
Sunday Times building

The columnist who was fired from the British Sunday Times over an anti-Semitic column has apologized, RTE reported on Tuesday.

Kevin Myers was fired on Sunday over a column on the BBC’s gender pay gap, in which Myers noted that two of the network’s best-paid female presenters, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, 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,” he wrote.

The Times later removed the column and apologized, calling it “unacceptable”.

Speaking Tuesday on RTE, Myers issued an apology of his own, saying, "I have many flaws. One of my flaws is to … deal with major issues in throwaway lines. And I did that with regard to the two women whom I identified within the BBC hierarchy who were particularly well rewarded."

Myers also said he was "a great admirer of the Jewish people".

Asked how the article got published, he replied, "I am the author of that article. I am the author of my own misfortunes. I am the master of my soul. And I must answer for what I have done.”

"But I don't think it right or proper for me to start saying somehow or other, other people are responsible for what happened. I must do nothing that will bring ruin or unhappiness to other people," added Myers.

He said he believed his career as a columnist was over as a result of his controversial piece and said he did not want anyone else to lose their jobs. "Enough damage has been done," he said.

He personally apologized to Feltz and Winkleman and said, "I am very, very sorry that I should have so offended them and I do utter an apology, not for any reason other than out of genuine contrition for the hurt I caused them but I uttered those words out of respect for the religion from which they come. And for the religion that I still hold in high regard, particularly the Irish members of that religion who have been so forthright in their defense of me generally."

Myers has written many controversial columns including one in which he denied the scope of the Holocaust.

The incident came one week after the Community Security Trust (CST) published a report which found that 767 anti-Semitic attacks were recorded in the United Kingdom in the first half of 2017, the highest figure recorded within six months since monitoring began in 1984.

This past February, the CST released data showing that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain rose by more than a third to record levels in 2016.

Last December, British Interior Minister Amber Rudd promised funds totaling $17 million towards the protection of Jewish synagogues, schools, kindergartens, and museums.